Elliot Colburn Portrait

Elliot Colburn

Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington

First elected: 12th December 2019


Victims and Prisoners Bill
14th Jun 2023 - 11th Jul 2023
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
16th Nov 2022 - 23rd Nov 2022
Shark Fins Bill
9th Nov 2022 - 16th Nov 2022
Down Syndrome Bill
19th Jan 2022 - 26th Jan 2022
Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL]
1st Dec 2021 - 9th Dec 2021
Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]
19th Jan 2016 - 20th Jan 2016


Scheduled Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
13:30
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
7 Mar 2024, 1:30 p.m.
General Debate: LGBT History Month
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Scheduled Event
Monday 18th March 2024
16:30
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
18 Mar 2024, 4:30 p.m.
e-petitions 630932 and 631529 relating to LGBT content in relationships education
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Division Votes
Friday 1st March 2024
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 0 Noes - 64
Speeches
Friday 1st March 2024
Conversion Practices (Prohibition) Bill
The hon. Member is giving a powerful speech. On the Cass review, does he want to highlight the fact that …
Written Answers
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Hate Crime: Transphobia
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to help tackle transphobic hate …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 19th September 2023
Import of Dogs Bill 2022-23
A Bill to prohibit the import of puppies under six months; to prohibit the import of pregnant dogs in specified …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: The 1900 Club
Address of donor: 4 Barton Street, London SW1P 3NG
Amount of donation or nature …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 30th January 2024
Autism (early identification) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to make provision about the training of teachers in relation to the early identification of autism; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Elliot Colburn has voted in 864 divisions, and 8 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
23 Jun 2020 - Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 45 Conservative Aye votes vs 235 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 243 Noes - 238
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
27 Jun 2023 - Schools (Gender and Parental Rights) - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 10 Conservative No votes vs 25 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 34 Noes - 40
1 Mar 2024 - Conversion Practices (Prohibition) Bill - View Vote Context
Elliot Colburn voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 10 Conservative Aye votes vs 14 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 15
View All Elliot Colburn Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(34 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Victims and Prisoners Bill 2022-23
(2,480 words contributed)
Down Syndrome Act 2022
(1,309 words contributed)
Import of Dogs Bill 2022-23
(1,288 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Elliot Colburn's debates

Carshalton and Wallington Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

People with a lifelong illness should not be subject to regular reviews for eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). People suffering lifelong conditions should not have to prove they are still ill every couple of years.

The Government should remove the requirement for people claiming disability benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to have to go through an assessment process. Claims should be based solely on evidence from medical professionals, such as a letter from a GP or consultant.

We want the Government to conduct a full review of the PIP process. This should look at DWP policy and the performance of ATOS and Capita, which conduct the health assessments for applicants. We believe the current process is inherently unethical and biased, and needs a complete overhaul.

The HMRC mileage rate for reimbursing the use of private cars (e.g. for employees but also volunteers) has been fixed at 45p/mile (up to 10,000 miles) since 2011. The lack of any increase since then is a serious disincentive to volunteer drivers particularly as fuel has gone up again recently.

Revoke local government powers to charge CAZ, LEZ, and ULEZ.

The Mayor's proposed extension of ULEZ over a short timeframe could negatively impact millions of people and businesses across SE England.

The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

The Government should commission a review of how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are managed by the NHS, including through Shared Care Agreements, and increase funding to reduce waiting times.

Revoke all licences (PEL) for commercial breeders of laboratory animals. Require all Project Licences (PPLs) applications be reviewed by an independent Non Animal Methods (NAMs) specialist committee. Revise s24 ASPA 1986 to allow review. Urge International Regulators to accept & promote NAMs.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed numerous petitions calling for actions that the Government has included in the Kept Animals Bill. The Government should urgently find time to allow the Bill to complete its journey through Parliament and become law.

There has been a significant increase in heart attacks and related health issues since the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines began in 2021. This needs immediate and full scientific investigation to establish if there is any possible link with the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

Ensuring statutory adoption pay is available to a self-employed parent in the same way that maternity allowance is available for self-employed new mums would promote an equal and fair society inclusive of all routes to parenthood.

Reform the GRA to allow transgender people to self-identify without the need for a medical diagnosis, to streamline the administrative process, and to allow non-binary identities to be legally recognised.

Invest in FOP research to support this ultra-rare disease community. Research into FOP could inform the understanding/treatment of many more common conditions such as osteoporosis, hip replacements, DIPG (a rare childhood brain cancer) and many common military injuries.

Current legislation allows for public use of fireworks 16 hours a day, every day, making it impossible for vulnerable groups to take precautions against the distress they can cause. Better enforcement of existing law is insufficient; limiting their sale & use to licensed displays only is necessary.

Much like the existing mandatory requirement for employers with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap. We call upon the government to introduce the ethnicity pay gap reporting. To shine a light on race / ethnicity based inequality in the workplace so that they can be addressed.

The individual must remain sovereign over their own body, discrimination against those who cannot or will not be vaccinated against COVID is incompatible with a free democracy. The Government must take firm action to prevent 'vaccination passports' and discriminatory 'no jab, no job' policies.

We, the people, demand that health and social care workers are given the right to exercise free will in relation to any medical procedure and so to be able to refuse to take the covid 19 vaccination without fear of facing discrimination at work or in wider society.

Breed Specific Legislation fails to achieve what Parliament intended, to protect the public. It focuses on specific breeds, which fails to appreciate a dog is not aggressive purely on the basis of its breed. It allows seizure of other breeds, but the rules are not applied homogeneously by councils.

Now that we have left the EU, the UK has the ability to finally stop the importation of Shark Fins. They had previously stated that 'Whilst in the EU, it is not possible to unilaterally ban the import of shark fins into the UK.'

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance

Every year more and more people, animals and wildlife get hurt by fireworks. It’s time something was fine to stop this. There are enough organised firework groups around for us to still enjoy fireworks safely so please help me stop the needless sale of them to the public!


Latest EDMs signed by Elliot Colburn

Elliot Colburn has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Elliot Colburn, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Elliot Colburn has not been granted any Urgent Questions

7 Adjournment Debates led by Elliot Colburn

1 Bill introduced by Elliot Colburn


A Bill to prohibit the import of puppies under six months; to prohibit the import of pregnant dogs in specified circumstances; to prohibit the import of dogs with cropped ears or docked tails; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 19th September 2023
(Read Debate)

242 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
5 Other Department Questions
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether it remains her policy to ban conversion therapy.

No one in this country should be harmed or harassed for who they are and attempts at so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are abhorrent. That is why we are carefully considering this very complex issue. We will be setting out further details on this in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government plans to amend (a) provisions on gender reassignment as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 and (b) section 9 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The government has no current plans to amend legislation on gender reassignment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 or section 9 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, in the context of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith process and the forthcoming General Synod, what assessment the Commissioners have made of the potential impact of the Church of England's exemptions from the Equality Act 2010 on LGBT+ people.

The National Church Institutions have made no such assessment. The exceptions in the Equality Act are for all religious organisations rather than for the Church of England specifically. It is unlikely that any of the exceptions will be engaged by Living in Love and Faith and therefore no assessment has been carried out.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she is taking steps to promote LGBT+ rights during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Ministers and senior officials have raised the concerns of LGBT+ visitors with Qatari authorities at all levels, and will continue to engage on this issue during the World Cup. Qatar has repeatedly committed that "everybody is welcome" to the tournament. We will continue to encourage equal treatment and the respect of individual rights, and identify what action the Qatari authorities are taking to match their commitment.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, when the Commission plans to lay before Parliament the draft Order to give affect to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England's recommended boundary changes for the London Borough of Sutton.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England published its final recommendations for future electoral arrangements in the London Borough of Sutton on 30 June. It expects to lay a draft order in September 2020 to bring the recommendations into effect. The draft order is subject to the 40-sitting days negative resolution procedure.

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of robberies by knife-point in London in each of the last three years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. gentlemen’s Parliamentary Question of 22 March is attached

1st Oct 2020
What steps he is taking to help ensure that SMEs are awarded public procurement contracts.

The Government introduced a number of measures to address the barriers that SMEs face in the procurement process. Last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs.

Leaving the EU is an opportunity to further reform our procurement rules. We will cut red tape, drive innovation and make it easier for small businesses to win public sector business, delivering better value for taxpayers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help develop skills and knowledge to support research and innovation.

The Government is committed to ensuring the UK has talent that supports research and innovation and drives growth.

We are investing millions in our brightest researchers through scholarships, PhD placements and fellowships in technologies like AI and Quantum.

With the Department of Education, we have launched Skills Bootcamps for digital, cyber, green, and technical skills.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the net zero strategy includes sound protections for consumers.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that installations meet high standards and provide appropriate consumer protection. The Government strengthened consumer rights through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA), including home installations of green efficiency products.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) protects consumers, from mis-selling of goods and services and prohibits unfair commercial practices by businesses against consumers. Consumers can seek free advice on their rights through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.

The PAS 2030 and 2035 standards were developed by an industry-led steering group in response to the recommendations of the independent 2016 Each Home Counts review. These standards indicate an industry-led approach to ensuring quality in the retrofit of people’s homes and were designed to improve both quality and consumer protection.

Contractors delivering energy efficiency or whole house retrofit works within Government schemes must be TrustMark registered, and heat pump installers must be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent. Both schemes take steps to ensure that installers demonstrate technical competence, good trading practices and good customer service. These requirements are being kept under review and further consumer protection measures will be considered if necessary.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that consumers are protected from scams and rogue traders as they make the changes to their homes necessary for the transition to net zero.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that installations meet high standards and provide appropriate consumer protection. The Government strengthened consumer rights through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA), including home installations of green efficiency products.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) protects consumers, from mis-selling of goods and services and prohibits unfair commercial practices by businesses against consumers. Consumers can seek free advice on their rights through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.

The PAS 2030 and 2035 standards were developed by an industry-led steering group in response to the recommendations of the independent 2016 Each Home Counts review. These standards indicate an industry-led approach to ensuring quality in the retrofit of people’s homes and were designed to improve both quality and consumer protection.

Contractors delivering energy efficiency or whole house retrofit works within Government schemes must be TrustMark registered, and heat pump installers must be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent. Both schemes take steps to ensure that installers demonstrate technical competence, good trading practices and good customer service. These requirements are being kept under review and further consumer protection measures will be considered if necessary.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support local football clubs.

By 2025, we will have invested over £320 million into grassroots football and multi-sport facilities across the UK. Furthermore, as announced in the King’s Speech, the Government will bring forward legislation to establish a new Independent Football Regulator, to ensure that English football is sustainable for the benefit of fans and local communities.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2021 to Question 3171 on Social Media: Antisemitism and with reference to the priority harms to be set out in secondary legislation under the planned Online Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech 2021, whether he plans to include in those priority harms (a) anti-Semitic abuse, (b) homophobic abuse, (c) abuse on the grounds of disability and (d) abuse on the grounds of other protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act 2010.

We know that groups with protected characteristics or with particular mental or physical health conditions are currently more likely to experience harm and abuse online. We are continuing to work with stakeholders, Parliamentarians and Ofcom to identify specific priority harms and to determine how to formulate these in legislation. The list of primary harms will need to capture online abuse, both where it is legal and where it constitutes a criminal offence.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism is included in any discussions with a potential regulator on holding social media companies accountable for content hosted on their platforms.

The Government is committed to tackling racism, including the spread of antisemitic content online. On 12 May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle illegal antisemitic content and activity on their services.

In addition, companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will need to assess the risk to adults of legal but harmful content on their services and set clear terms and conditions stating what legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will have to do this for both priority harms which the government will set out in secondary legislation and for any emerging harms they identify in their risk assessments.

These duties will apply to antisemitic hate speech, which does not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Companies will need to enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently, and could face enforcement action if they do not. All companies in scope will be required to have effective and accessible user reporting and redress mechanisms.

From now onwards we will be working with stakeholders and parliamentarians alike on identifying priority harms, and they will be subject to the usual secondary legislation processes. Ofcom will be responsible for advising the government regarding the list of priority categories of harm, based on evidence of the prevalence and impact of harmful content. Government will not be bound to follow this advice.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of differentiating the regulatory response of illegal and legal but harmful content in the up-coming Online Harms Bill; and if he will make a statement.

The government is clear that the new regulatory framework must be targeted where the potential for impact is greatest. As announced in the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper, published in December, the Online Safety Bill will require all companies in scope to tackle illegal material on their services. All companies will also be required to assess the likelihood of children accessing their services and provide additional protections for them.

Only companies who provide services with the largest audiences and high-risk features will have a legal responsibility to take action with respect to content or activity on their services which is legal but harmful to adults.

We know that online behaviour or content which may not be illegal can still cause serious harm, but we are clear that requirements must be proportionate and reflect the importance of free expression online. An overly broad scope risks imposing disproportionate regulatory burdens and could dilute efforts to tackle the most serious illegal activity including CSEA and terrorist content.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish the Government's response to its consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion.

We believe that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate.

In February 2020, the Government launched a public consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion. The consultation closed in April after receiving over 150,000 responses. We will listen carefully to those that have responded before setting out our next steps.

8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on developing tech skills in the workforce.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent and skills are a vital strand of the government’s UK Science and Technology Framework, published in 2023, which aims to cement the UK’s status as a science and technology superpower by 2030.

The department is working with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, including through government-industry groups such as the Digital Skills Council. This brings together government and industry to address current and future demand for digital skills, including promoting routes into digital careers and the range of opportunities to re-skill and up-skill.

The department is making it easier for people of all ages and backgrounds to access the STEM training they need through the ladder of opportunity provided by our skills system reforms, including:

  • Investment of £3.8 billion over the course of this parliament to strengthen higher education (HE) and further education (FE).
  • Scaling up delivery of apprenticeships, T Levels, Skills Bootcamps, and Higher Technical Qualifications, and establishing our network of 21 Institutes of Technology.

There are over 350 high-quality, employer-designed STEM apprenticeships and from 2024 students will be able to apply for apprenticeships on the UCAS website. The number of digital, ICT practitioner apprenticeship starts have increased year-on-year since 2019/20, with 24,140 starts in the 2022/23 year (over 40% increase compared to starts in the 2019/20 year).

Over 1,000 Skills Bootcamps are available across the country, offering training in tech subjects such as software development, cyber security and data analytics.

The introduction of a Lifelong Learning Entitlement will transform access to FE and HE, offering all adults the equivalent of four years’ worth of student loans to use flexibly on quality education and skills training over their lifetime.

These programmes are achieving the vision set out in the UK Science and Technology Framework to boost the supply of tech skills.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) reducing and (b) eliminating the residency requirement for British National Overseas visa holders to qualify for (i) home fee status and (ii) student finance.

To qualify for student finance in the UK, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the UK.

Subject to meeting the normal eligibility requirements, British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders will be able to qualify for student finance once they have acquired settled status, which is usually after five years, and have three years of ordinary residence in the UK.

The government believes that it is right that the support provided by the taxpayer should be targeted at those who have a history of a lawful and substantial residence in the UK.

There are no plans to review BN(O) status holders’ access to student finance.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of trends in absence rates of children with pathological demand avoidance.

The department does not collect data for pupils with pathological demand avoidance (PDA), a profile of autism. Therefore, we cannot accurately assess their current trends in absence rates. However, the department recognises the increase in absence generally for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). For pupils receiving Special Educational Needs (SEN) support, overall absence increased from 6.5% in 2018/19 to 10.0% in 2021/22. For pupils with a SEN provision statement or Education, Health and Care Plan, overall absence increased from 8.7% in 2018/19 to 12.1% in 2021/22.

On 22 November 2023, the department announced the Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools programme. This new programme, backed by £13 million of investment, will bring together Integrated Care Boards (ICB), local authorities and schools, working in partnership with parents and carers, to support schools to better meet the needs of neurodiverse children. The programme will deploy specialists from both health and education workforces to upskill schools and build their capacity to identify and meet the needs of children with autism and other neurodiverse needs. One of the key programme metrics will be attendance, as the department recognises that addressing unmet needs and making school more inclusive supports good attendance. The programme will be evaluated, and the learning will inform future policy development around how schools support neurodiverse children.

In 2022, the department published the ‘Working together to improve school attendance guidance’ to ensure greater consistency in the attendance support offered to pupils and families across the country. The guidance emphasises the importance of providing attendance support early and targeted to pupils’ individual needs. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-improve-school-attendance.

For pupils with SEND, schools are expected to have sensitive conversations with pupils about their needs and work with families to develop specific support approaches. This includes establishing strategies for removing in-school barriers to attendance, ensuring attendance data for pupils with SEND is regularly monitored to spot patterns and provide support earlier, ensuring joined-up pastoral care is in place, and referring pupils to other services and partners where necessary. These expectations, alongside the expectations placed on academy trust boards, governing bodies, and local authorities to work in conjunction with school staff to provide joined-up support for all pupils and families, is intended to ensure that pupils with SEND are supported to attend school regularly.

Statistics on pupil absence, including breakdowns of absence by characteristics, are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england/2021-22.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate her Department has made of the level of demand for staff who are qualified to provide childcare for children over the age of five with special educational needs.

Local authorities have a legal duty to report annually on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare for children aged up to 14, and up to 18 for disabled children. Local authority reports should include specific reference to how each local authority is meeting the needs of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including how any gaps in provision will be addressed. The report should be made available to parents.

Where adequate childcare provision is not available, parents have the right to request a wraparound or holiday childcare place for their child. Local authorities also have a statutory duty under the Children and Families Act 2014 to maintain a local offer which provides clear, comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date information about support and services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The department recognises the importance of good quality and inclusive school-aged childcare that supports working parents and carers. The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare programme to support local authorities and providers in England to introduce or expand childcare provision for primary school-aged children, as part of the largest ever investment in childcare. The programme aims to deliver provision that is child-centred, easily accessible and responds to the needs of the families, including those of children with SEND. Local authorities and childcare providers should recognise the different needs of children who will be accessing childcare and ensure that new and existing provision is accessible to all, including children with complex needs and those in specialist school settings.

The department does not hold data on the demand for staff who are qualified to provide childcare for children over the age of five with SEN. However, as part of the national wraparound programme, local authorities have the flexibility to use some of the funding provided to pay for training for wraparound staff, including specialist training for staff to ensure they feel equipped to support children with SEND.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of school aged childcare provision in England for Special Educational Needs children.

Local authorities have a legal duty to report annually on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare for children aged up to 14, and up to 18 for disabled children. Local authority reports should include specific reference to how each local authority is meeting the needs of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including how any gaps in provision will be addressed. The report should be made available to parents.

Where adequate childcare provision is not available, parents have the right to request a wraparound or holiday childcare place for their child. Local authorities also have a statutory duty under the Children and Families Act 2014 to maintain a local offer which provides clear, comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date information about support and services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The department recognises the importance of good quality and inclusive school-aged childcare that supports working parents and carers. The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare programme to support local authorities and providers in England to introduce or expand childcare provision for primary school-aged children, as part of the largest ever investment in childcare. The programme aims to deliver provision that is child-centred, easily accessible and responds to the needs of the families, including those of children with SEND. Local authorities and childcare providers should recognise the different needs of children who will be accessing childcare and ensure that new and existing provision is accessible to all, including children with complex needs and those in specialist school settings.

The department does not hold data on the demand for staff who are qualified to provide childcare for children over the age of five with SEN. However, as part of the national wraparound programme, local authorities have the flexibility to use some of the funding provided to pay for training for wraparound staff, including specialist training for staff to ensure they feel equipped to support children with SEND.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate her Department has made of the level of demand for staff who are qualified to provide childcare for children over the age of 5 with special educational needs.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support her Department (a) provides and (b) plans to provide for people who wish to train in childcare for children with special educational needs over the age of 5.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of school aged childcare provision in England for Special Educational Needs children.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help school aged childcare providers (a) attract and (b) retain a skilled and qualified workforce.

The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare ‘pathfinder’ scheme to support local authorities to work with primary schools and private providers to set up and deliver wraparound childcare before and after school. This is the first step in the government’s ambition for all parents of primary school children who need it to access childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. Successfully meeting this objective will go some way in ensuring that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours, and with flexible hours.

The investment will also support local authorities to test flexible options of providing school aged childcare, for example exploring models such as partnerships between schools and working with private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, to deliver wraparound childcare that is self-financing and sustainable in the longer term.

The department will work with local authorities, schools, and PVI providers over the next few months to ensure that this programme is designed to meet the needs of parents, and to ensure that the right support is in place for schools and providers. To meet the ambition of the pathfinder, we are working with a small group of local authorities in a co-design process, to build our understanding of the challenges around supply and demand, recruitment and retention, and other operational considerations. This will be a collaborative process to co-design the programme, with additional input from private providers, parents, and others in the sector. We will be looking to support some local authorities to roll out the programme earlier than September 2024, where they are able to. Local authorities who participate in the co-design process may find themselves more able to roll out sooner than they would otherwise be able to.

The department understands that many parents work fewer hours, even when their children are of school age. A key barrier is the availability of wraparound childcare, with only 64% of primary schools currently offering childcare at both ends of the day. The availability of wraparound childcare differs between schools and local authorities. This means that although there is some excellent provision, whether delivered by schools or by PVI providers, not all families are receiving the support they need to enable them to work. In 2021, 40% of non-working mothers with primary age children said that if they could arrange good quality childcare that was convenient, reliable, and affordable, they would prefer to work. Increasing the availability of wraparound childcare for parents will help ensure that working parents do not have to reduce their hours due to their caring responsibilities. Working families can continue to access support with childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare, worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged up to 11, or £4,000 per year for children aged up to 17 with disabilities, and the childcare element for Universal Credit for children up to age 16.

Many schools already work successfully in partnership with PVI providers to deliver wraparound childcare to the school community. Officials are engaging with schools and wraparound childcare providers to understand what support they will require to deliver sustainable wraparound childcare. Officials are also working across government to ensure that the pathfinder scheme complements and supports existing work where schools provide out of hours activities. Senior officials are in regular discussions with representatives from the Local Government Association, local authorities, schools, and PVI providers through the Wraparound Programme Steering Group, helping the department better understand sector-specific challenges.

We recognise that recruitment and retention remain key challenges for schools and private providers. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department. We are working proactively with the sector and other government departments to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support in this area. That is why this funding is designed to support local authorities to work with schools and private providers to test different approaches and identify what works best for them. The pathfinder will include a robust evaluation to ensure we gather as much evidence and information as possible about the barriers and challenges the sector has in delivering wraparound childcare, and what support and funding the sector needs to deliver provision that is sustainable and accessible to all working parents that need it.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of childcare providers on school aged childcare.

The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare ‘pathfinder’ scheme to support local authorities to work with primary schools and private providers to set up and deliver wraparound childcare before and after school. This is the first step in the government’s ambition for all parents of primary school children who need it to access childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. Successfully meeting this objective will go some way in ensuring that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours, and with flexible hours.

The investment will also support local authorities to test flexible options of providing school aged childcare, for example exploring models such as partnerships between schools and working with private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, to deliver wraparound childcare that is self-financing and sustainable in the longer term.

The department will work with local authorities, schools, and PVI providers over the next few months to ensure that this programme is designed to meet the needs of parents, and to ensure that the right support is in place for schools and providers. To meet the ambition of the pathfinder, we are working with a small group of local authorities in a co-design process, to build our understanding of the challenges around supply and demand, recruitment and retention, and other operational considerations. This will be a collaborative process to co-design the programme, with additional input from private providers, parents, and others in the sector. We will be looking to support some local authorities to roll out the programme earlier than September 2024, where they are able to. Local authorities who participate in the co-design process may find themselves more able to roll out sooner than they would otherwise be able to.

The department understands that many parents work fewer hours, even when their children are of school age. A key barrier is the availability of wraparound childcare, with only 64% of primary schools currently offering childcare at both ends of the day. The availability of wraparound childcare differs between schools and local authorities. This means that although there is some excellent provision, whether delivered by schools or by PVI providers, not all families are receiving the support they need to enable them to work. In 2021, 40% of non-working mothers with primary age children said that if they could arrange good quality childcare that was convenient, reliable, and affordable, they would prefer to work. Increasing the availability of wraparound childcare for parents will help ensure that working parents do not have to reduce their hours due to their caring responsibilities. Working families can continue to access support with childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare, worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged up to 11, or £4,000 per year for children aged up to 17 with disabilities, and the childcare element for Universal Credit for children up to age 16.

Many schools already work successfully in partnership with PVI providers to deliver wraparound childcare to the school community. Officials are engaging with schools and wraparound childcare providers to understand what support they will require to deliver sustainable wraparound childcare. Officials are also working across government to ensure that the pathfinder scheme complements and supports existing work where schools provide out of hours activities. Senior officials are in regular discussions with representatives from the Local Government Association, local authorities, schools, and PVI providers through the Wraparound Programme Steering Group, helping the department better understand sector-specific challenges.

We recognise that recruitment and retention remain key challenges for schools and private providers. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department. We are working proactively with the sector and other government departments to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support in this area. That is why this funding is designed to support local authorities to work with schools and private providers to test different approaches and identify what works best for them. The pathfinder will include a robust evaluation to ensure we gather as much evidence and information as possible about the barriers and challenges the sector has in delivering wraparound childcare, and what support and funding the sector needs to deliver provision that is sustainable and accessible to all working parents that need it.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an estimate of the number of parents who are not in employment due to an inability to access to school aged childcare.

The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare ‘pathfinder’ scheme to support local authorities to work with primary schools and private providers to set up and deliver wraparound childcare before and after school. This is the first step in the government’s ambition for all parents of primary school children who need it to access childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. Successfully meeting this objective will go some way in ensuring that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours, and with flexible hours.

The investment will also support local authorities to test flexible options of providing school aged childcare, for example exploring models such as partnerships between schools and working with private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, to deliver wraparound childcare that is self-financing and sustainable in the longer term.

The department will work with local authorities, schools, and PVI providers over the next few months to ensure that this programme is designed to meet the needs of parents, and to ensure that the right support is in place for schools and providers. To meet the ambition of the pathfinder, we are working with a small group of local authorities in a co-design process, to build our understanding of the challenges around supply and demand, recruitment and retention, and other operational considerations. This will be a collaborative process to co-design the programme, with additional input from private providers, parents, and others in the sector. We will be looking to support some local authorities to roll out the programme earlier than September 2024, where they are able to. Local authorities who participate in the co-design process may find themselves more able to roll out sooner than they would otherwise be able to.

The department understands that many parents work fewer hours, even when their children are of school age. A key barrier is the availability of wraparound childcare, with only 64% of primary schools currently offering childcare at both ends of the day. The availability of wraparound childcare differs between schools and local authorities. This means that although there is some excellent provision, whether delivered by schools or by PVI providers, not all families are receiving the support they need to enable them to work. In 2021, 40% of non-working mothers with primary age children said that if they could arrange good quality childcare that was convenient, reliable, and affordable, they would prefer to work. Increasing the availability of wraparound childcare for parents will help ensure that working parents do not have to reduce their hours due to their caring responsibilities. Working families can continue to access support with childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare, worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged up to 11, or £4,000 per year for children aged up to 17 with disabilities, and the childcare element for Universal Credit for children up to age 16.

Many schools already work successfully in partnership with PVI providers to deliver wraparound childcare to the school community. Officials are engaging with schools and wraparound childcare providers to understand what support they will require to deliver sustainable wraparound childcare. Officials are also working across government to ensure that the pathfinder scheme complements and supports existing work where schools provide out of hours activities. Senior officials are in regular discussions with representatives from the Local Government Association, local authorities, schools, and PVI providers through the Wraparound Programme Steering Group, helping the department better understand sector-specific challenges.

We recognise that recruitment and retention remain key challenges for schools and private providers. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department. We are working proactively with the sector and other government departments to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support in this area. That is why this funding is designed to support local authorities to work with schools and private providers to test different approaches and identify what works best for them. The pathfinder will include a robust evaluation to ensure we gather as much evidence and information as possible about the barriers and challenges the sector has in delivering wraparound childcare, and what support and funding the sector needs to deliver provision that is sustainable and accessible to all working parents that need it.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to (a) improve the provision of school aged childcare and (b) help provide childcare for parents to return to the workforce.

The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare ‘pathfinder’ scheme to support local authorities to work with primary schools and private providers to set up and deliver wraparound childcare before and after school. This is the first step in the government’s ambition for all parents of primary school children who need it to access childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. Successfully meeting this objective will go some way in ensuring that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours, and with flexible hours.

The investment will also support local authorities to test flexible options of providing school aged childcare, for example exploring models such as partnerships between schools and working with private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, to deliver wraparound childcare that is self-financing and sustainable in the longer term.

The department will work with local authorities, schools, and PVI providers over the next few months to ensure that this programme is designed to meet the needs of parents, and to ensure that the right support is in place for schools and providers. To meet the ambition of the pathfinder, we are working with a small group of local authorities in a co-design process, to build our understanding of the challenges around supply and demand, recruitment and retention, and other operational considerations. This will be a collaborative process to co-design the programme, with additional input from private providers, parents, and others in the sector. We will be looking to support some local authorities to roll out the programme earlier than September 2024, where they are able to. Local authorities who participate in the co-design process may find themselves more able to roll out sooner than they would otherwise be able to.

The department understands that many parents work fewer hours, even when their children are of school age. A key barrier is the availability of wraparound childcare, with only 64% of primary schools currently offering childcare at both ends of the day. The availability of wraparound childcare differs between schools and local authorities. This means that although there is some excellent provision, whether delivered by schools or by PVI providers, not all families are receiving the support they need to enable them to work. In 2021, 40% of non-working mothers with primary age children said that if they could arrange good quality childcare that was convenient, reliable, and affordable, they would prefer to work. Increasing the availability of wraparound childcare for parents will help ensure that working parents do not have to reduce their hours due to their caring responsibilities. Working families can continue to access support with childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare, worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged up to 11, or £4,000 per year for children aged up to 17 with disabilities, and the childcare element for Universal Credit for children up to age 16.

Many schools already work successfully in partnership with PVI providers to deliver wraparound childcare to the school community. Officials are engaging with schools and wraparound childcare providers to understand what support they will require to deliver sustainable wraparound childcare. Officials are also working across government to ensure that the pathfinder scheme complements and supports existing work where schools provide out of hours activities. Senior officials are in regular discussions with representatives from the Local Government Association, local authorities, schools, and PVI providers through the Wraparound Programme Steering Group, helping the department better understand sector-specific challenges.

We recognise that recruitment and retention remain key challenges for schools and private providers. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department. We are working proactively with the sector and other government departments to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support in this area. That is why this funding is designed to support local authorities to work with schools and private providers to test different approaches and identify what works best for them. The pathfinder will include a robust evaluation to ensure we gather as much evidence and information as possible about the barriers and challenges the sector has in delivering wraparound childcare, and what support and funding the sector needs to deliver provision that is sustainable and accessible to all working parents that need it.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to commence the trailblazer programme for wraparound childcare providers.

The government is investing £289 million in a new wraparound childcare ‘pathfinder’ scheme to support local authorities to work with primary schools and private providers to set up and deliver wraparound childcare before and after school. This is the first step in the government’s ambition for all parents of primary school children who need it to access childcare in their local area from 8am to 6pm. Successfully meeting this objective will go some way in ensuring that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours, and with flexible hours.

The investment will also support local authorities to test flexible options of providing school aged childcare, for example exploring models such as partnerships between schools and working with private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers, to deliver wraparound childcare that is self-financing and sustainable in the longer term.

The department will work with local authorities, schools, and PVI providers over the next few months to ensure that this programme is designed to meet the needs of parents, and to ensure that the right support is in place for schools and providers. To meet the ambition of the pathfinder, we are working with a small group of local authorities in a co-design process, to build our understanding of the challenges around supply and demand, recruitment and retention, and other operational considerations. This will be a collaborative process to co-design the programme, with additional input from private providers, parents, and others in the sector. We will be looking to support some local authorities to roll out the programme earlier than September 2024, where they are able to. Local authorities who participate in the co-design process may find themselves more able to roll out sooner than they would otherwise be able to.

The department understands that many parents work fewer hours, even when their children are of school age. A key barrier is the availability of wraparound childcare, with only 64% of primary schools currently offering childcare at both ends of the day. The availability of wraparound childcare differs between schools and local authorities. This means that although there is some excellent provision, whether delivered by schools or by PVI providers, not all families are receiving the support they need to enable them to work. In 2021, 40% of non-working mothers with primary age children said that if they could arrange good quality childcare that was convenient, reliable, and affordable, they would prefer to work. Increasing the availability of wraparound childcare for parents will help ensure that working parents do not have to reduce their hours due to their caring responsibilities. Working families can continue to access support with childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare, worth up to £2,000 per year for children aged up to 11, or £4,000 per year for children aged up to 17 with disabilities, and the childcare element for Universal Credit for children up to age 16.

Many schools already work successfully in partnership with PVI providers to deliver wraparound childcare to the school community. Officials are engaging with schools and wraparound childcare providers to understand what support they will require to deliver sustainable wraparound childcare. Officials are also working across government to ensure that the pathfinder scheme complements and supports existing work where schools provide out of hours activities. Senior officials are in regular discussions with representatives from the Local Government Association, local authorities, schools, and PVI providers through the Wraparound Programme Steering Group, helping the department better understand sector-specific challenges.

We recognise that recruitment and retention remain key challenges for schools and private providers. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department. We are working proactively with the sector and other government departments to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support in this area. That is why this funding is designed to support local authorities to work with schools and private providers to test different approaches and identify what works best for them. The pathfinder will include a robust evaluation to ensure we gather as much evidence and information as possible about the barriers and challenges the sector has in delivering wraparound childcare, and what support and funding the sector needs to deliver provision that is sustainable and accessible to all working parents that need it.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the provision of services available for SEND children of school age.

The department published the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan in March 2023, in which we set out our plans to improve the SEND and AP system. The Plan includes the steps we are taking to strengthen accountability across the system to improve the quality of services for children with SEND and in AP. This includes the new Ofsted and Care Quality Commission Area SEND Inspection Framework, the emphasis on SEND pupils in the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework, and the local and national inclusion dashboards launching later this year, which will give parents the opportunity to monitor the performance of their local SEND and AP system.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her policy is on whether schools should tell unsupportive parents that their children are trans and gender questioning.

The Department believes that all pupils should be supported whilst growing up. Schools, colleges and teachers are committed to supporting all pupils and students to thrive and reach their potential in a safe and respectful environment.

All schools and colleges must have regard to the Department’s 'Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE)' statutory guidance, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils. The KCSIE statutory guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The Department is working with the Minister for Women and Equalities to develop guidance to support schools in relation to gender questioning pupils.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the guidance to support schools in relation to transgender pupils will include measures to help tackle transphobic bullying.

The Government has sent a clear message that bullying should never be tolerated, and the Department is committed to supporting schools to tackle it. The Department provides guidance for schools, which outlines schools’ responsibilities, and makes clear that schools should make appropriate provision for a bullied child’s social, emotional, and mental health needs. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

The Department is working with the Minister for Women and Equalities to develop guidance to support schools in relation to supporting gender questioning pupils.

The Department has provided over £2 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

The Department is ensuring all pupils in England will learn about respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of new mandatory relationships, sex and health education. The subject is designed to give pupils the knowledge they need to lead happy, safe, and healthy lives, and to foster respect for other people and for difference.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. This is supported by ‘Respectful School Communities’, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole school approach which promotes respect and discipline. The tool is available at: https://educateagainsthate.com/resources/respectful-school-communities-self-review-signposting-tool-2/. This can combat bullying, harassment, and prejudice of any kind, including hate based bullying.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 8 March 2023, Official Report, column 298, whether it is the Government's policy to retain a compulsory provision of RSHE in schools.

It remains the Department’s intention to retain compulsory provision of relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) in primary and secondary schools.

As stated by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, the review of the statutory RSHE guidance, which was originally due to start in September 2023, has been brought forward to address concerns expressed regarding the teaching and content of sex education. The first phase is underway, and the Department will start to engage stakeholders, including schools, parents, and pupils over the next few months.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to revisit the decision on funding for Sutton Free School 1 in the event that data demonstrates a need for further secondary school places in the London Borough of Sutton.

Sutton Free School 1 was cancelled because opening the school would have resulted in a large surplus of secondary places over the medium to long term, undermining the viability of other good schools in the area. Once a project has been formally cancelled by ministers, that decision cannot be revisited.

However, should pupil forecasts change and demonstrate the need for a new school there is still the opportunity for a new secondary free school to be established in Sutton. Indeed, where a local authority thinks there is a demographic need for a new school in its area, it must seek proposals to establish an academy. This is known as the free school presumption process. The department also approves new academies through a central free school application route. The Schools White Paper set out our intention to seek proposals for new mainstream free schools in the areas of greatest need for additional places, prioritising proposals located in Education Investment Areas. This process will take account of the latest data on the need for additional school places. We will set out more details on this process in due course.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his revised timetable is for the delivery of a special educational needs school at the Rose Hill site in Sutton.

The forecast opening date for the special educational needs school in Rosehill, Sutton, is September 2024, subject to planning approval. The academy trust and local authority are aware that the department is working towards this date.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Archdiocese of Southwark on the diocese's decision to (a) remove foundational governors from the Governing Board of The John Fisher School in Purley and (b) to cancel the visit of an LGBT+ author from visiting that school; and what discussion he has had with the diocese to encourage it to engage with meditation with that school.

The department is working with the Archdiocese, the Catholic Education Service, and the local authority to agree a way forward to ensure continuing stable governance and pupil education at John Fisher School in Purley.

The governing body and the National Education Union entered talks mediated by the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service with the aim of halting further disruption to pupils’ education. Agreement was reached and there is no further planned industrial action at the school.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish his revised timetable for the (a) delivery of The Futures Academy school on the Sheen Way site and (b) decamp of staff and pupils from the Carew Manor site.

The department is working closely with the Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust and the local authority to build the new special free school, Carew Academy (formerly known as The Futures Academy). The school will provide high quality, modern facilities that will give young people with special needs in Sutton the best possible start to their lives.

The department will be able to provide greater certainty on the delivery of the school and proposed opening date once the outstanding planning conditions have been satisfactorily resolved with the local authority.

23rd Nov 2020
What steps he is taking to build new schools.

Through the free schools programme, this government has funded thousands of high quality new school places across the country.

We have approved 225 applications from groups that we are now working with to establish new free schools. This includes 73 special and 9 alternative provision free schools.

The Priority Schools Building Programme is replacing or refurbishing buildings at 537 schools.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the press release entitled, Build build build: Prime Minister announces New Deal for Britain, how much funding he plans to allocate to school building upgrade projects in Carshalton and Wallington constituency.

The Government has announced a transformative, ten-year programme to rebuild school buildings. This will replace poor condition and ageing school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.

We have committed over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of the ten-year programme. These projects will be confirmed in the autumn, and construction on the first sites is expected to begin in autumn 2021. Further details of the new ten-year rebuilding programme, including additional funding, will be set out following the Spending Review.

We are also providing £560 million of additional condition funding for the school system this year to support essential maintenance projects. This comes on top of over £1.4 billion capital funding already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21. We will set out details of how the additional capital funding will be allocated shortly.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to issue guidance to special educational needs co-ordinators on (a) the services they are expected to provide from the mainstream budget, (b) when an Education, Health and Care Plan is required and (c) other aspects of the Children and Families Act 2014.

We recognise the important role that Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) play in schools in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

We do not currently have plans to issue specific guidance to SENCOs as the role and responsibilities of SENCOs are set out in the SEND Code of Practice, which is the statutory guidance that schools must have due regard to.

In addition, we have provided funding to the Whole School SEND Consortium (WSS) to develop resources specifically to support SENCOs. This includes a SENCO Induction Pack to help new SENCOs in their role, which can be accessed at: www.sendgateway.org.uk/whole-school-send/sencos-area. The induction pack includes further information on the statutory framework; Education, Health and Care Plans; and managing SEND provision.

The WSS is also developing an ‘Effective SENCO Deployment Guide’ to help school leaders consider how they can best support the SENCO in their school. Furthermore, we are reviewing the learning outcomes for the National Award in SEN Co-ordination to ensure it best prepares SENCOs for their role.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provision in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice for local authorities to use their own criteria to decide when it is necessary to carry out an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice states that local authorities may develop criteria as guidelines to help them decide when it is necessary to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. However, as set out in the Code, local authorities must also be prepared to depart from those criteria where there is a compelling reason to do so in any particular case and demonstrate their willingness to do so where individual circumstances warrant such a departure. Local authorities must not apply a ‘blanket’ policy to particular groups of children or certain types of need, as this would prevent the consideration of a child’s or young person’s needs individually and on their merits as is required under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The Code of Practice also requires that the health care provision specified in section G of the EHC plan must be agreed by the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (or, where relevant, NHS England) and any health care provision should be agreed in time to be included in the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person for whom the plan has been created. As part of the joint commissioning arrangements, partners must have clear disagreement resolution procedures where there is disagreement on the services to be included in an EHC plan.

Ultimately, it is for local authorities to ensure that EHC plans are produced in a timely manner and that they include all relevant information to ensure the needs of the child or young person who is subject to the plan are clearly defined, that appropriate support is identified, and that appropriate outcomes are included.

However, we recognise that there are concerns with the SEND system. We announced the SEND Review in September 2019 to ensure the system is working best for all families, and that support in different areas is consistent, available and joined up across health, care and education services.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities do not dictate to medical professionals what to write in Education, Health and Care Plans.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice states that local authorities may develop criteria as guidelines to help them decide when it is necessary to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. However, as set out in the Code, local authorities must also be prepared to depart from those criteria where there is a compelling reason to do so in any particular case and demonstrate their willingness to do so where individual circumstances warrant such a departure. Local authorities must not apply a ‘blanket’ policy to particular groups of children or certain types of need, as this would prevent the consideration of a child’s or young person’s needs individually and on their merits as is required under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The Code of Practice also requires that the health care provision specified in section G of the EHC plan must be agreed by the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (or, where relevant, NHS England) and any health care provision should be agreed in time to be included in the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person for whom the plan has been created. As part of the joint commissioning arrangements, partners must have clear disagreement resolution procedures where there is disagreement on the services to be included in an EHC plan.

Ultimately, it is for local authorities to ensure that EHC plans are produced in a timely manner and that they include all relevant information to ensure the needs of the child or young person who is subject to the plan are clearly defined, that appropriate support is identified, and that appropriate outcomes are included.

However, we recognise that there are concerns with the SEND system. We announced the SEND Review in September 2019 to ensure the system is working best for all families, and that support in different areas is consistent, available and joined up across health, care and education services.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department's implementation guidance on statutory Relationships and Sex Education will be released to all schools.

The Department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations for the introduction of relationships education (RE), relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education from September 2020.

In July 2018, as part of the consultation on the draft regulations and statutory guidance, the Department published a draft impact assessment, which set out the assessment the Department had made of the impact of the requirement to teach compulsory RE and RSE on independent and maintained schools. The assessment was made in line with requirements set out in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, and responses to the consultation helped finalise the regulations, statutory guidance and impact assessment. The Government response can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/780768/Government_Response_to_RSE_Consultation.pdf.

The Department is investing in a central support package to support all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice. We are currently developing a new online service featuring training materials, case studies and support to access resources. This will be available from April 2020 with additional content added through the summer term, covering all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance. The implementation guide will also be provided to all schools as part of this service, and training offers will be available for schools that need additional support.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what impact assessment his Department has carried out to assess the amount of work required by schools to implement the statutory teaching of Relationships and Sex Education from September 2020.

The Department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations for the introduction of relationships education (RE), relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education from September 2020.

In July 2018, as part of the consultation on the draft regulations and statutory guidance, the Department published a draft impact assessment, which set out the assessment the Department had made of the impact of the requirement to teach compulsory RE and RSE on independent and maintained schools. The assessment was made in line with requirements set out in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, and responses to the consultation helped finalise the regulations, statutory guidance and impact assessment. The Government response can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/780768/Government_Response_to_RSE_Consultation.pdf.

The Department is investing in a central support package to support all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice. We are currently developing a new online service featuring training materials, case studies and support to access resources. This will be available from April 2020 with additional content added through the summer term, covering all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance. The implementation guide will also be provided to all schools as part of this service, and training offers will be available for schools that need additional support.

28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the responsibility of local authorities to work with water companies to tackle polluted surface water outfalls that occur as a result of mis-connections to sewers rather than surface water runoffs.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of issues. Misconnections are often the product of poor domestic drainage from private drainage asset owners. However, the contents discharge from water company assets and water companies have a responsibility to investigate and resolve. Water company drainage and wastewater management plans provide the opportunity for companies to proactively identify these risks and propose long-term solutions to address them.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report entitled Incineration Overcapacity in England, published by the United Kingdom Without Incineration Network in November 2022, what steps her Department is taking to tackle overcapacity of incinerators in England.

Government does not support overcapacity of Energy from Waste treatment in England. We will publish an assessment of our further residual waste treatment capacity needs in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to improve the welfare of domestic rabbits.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect the welfare of companion animals – including domestic rabbits. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, introduced in 2018, require anyone who is in the business of selling rabbits as pets to obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Licence holders must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. The 2018 Regulations are supported by statutory guidance which provides specific information about the keeping of rabbits for sale:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936832/selling-animals-as-pets.pdf

Additional advice is available to help pet owners provide for the welfare needs of their rabbit, including the British Rabbit Council’s Codes of Practice: https://thebritishrabbitcouncil.org/codes-practice.php

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was recently granted Royal Assent. This realises the Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. It means that from 29 June 2021, anyone who is cruel to an animal (including domestic rabbits) faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is an ambitious plan which sets out an overview of the Government’s main priorities on animal welfare and conservation, particularly those which require legislative action and reform. It is not exhaustive of every animal welfare issue which the Government covers. While the Action Plan does not refer explicitly to rabbit welfare, the Government cares about rabbit welfare and my department continues to work closely with organisations such as the Companion Animal Sector Council to monitor developments in welfare standards for all domestic animals including rabbits. My department is also happy to engage with rabbit welfare groups on an ongoing basis about their concerns.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings his Department had with rabbit welfare groups in the development of the Action Plan for Animals.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect the welfare of companion animals – including domestic rabbits. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, introduced in 2018, require anyone who is in the business of selling rabbits as pets to obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Licence holders must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. The 2018 Regulations are supported by statutory guidance which provides specific information about the keeping of rabbits for sale:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936832/selling-animals-as-pets.pdf

Additional advice is available to help pet owners provide for the welfare needs of their rabbit, including the British Rabbit Council’s Codes of Practice: https://thebritishrabbitcouncil.org/codes-practice.php

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was recently granted Royal Assent. This realises the Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. It means that from 29 June 2021, anyone who is cruel to an animal (including domestic rabbits) faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is an ambitious plan which sets out an overview of the Government’s main priorities on animal welfare and conservation, particularly those which require legislative action and reform. It is not exhaustive of every animal welfare issue which the Government covers. While the Action Plan does not refer explicitly to rabbit welfare, the Government cares about rabbit welfare and my department continues to work closely with organisations such as the Companion Animal Sector Council to monitor developments in welfare standards for all domestic animals including rabbits. My department is also happy to engage with rabbit welfare groups on an ongoing basis about their concerns.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what consultation his Department undertook with rabbit welfare groups in the development of the Action Plan for Animals.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect the welfare of companion animals – including domestic rabbits. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, introduced in 2018, require anyone who is in the business of selling rabbits as pets to obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Licence holders must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. The 2018 Regulations are supported by statutory guidance which provides specific information about the keeping of rabbits for sale:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936832/selling-animals-as-pets.pdf

Additional advice is available to help pet owners provide for the welfare needs of their rabbit, including the British Rabbit Council’s Codes of Practice: https://thebritishrabbitcouncil.org/codes-practice.php

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was recently granted Royal Assent. This realises the Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. It means that from 29 June 2021, anyone who is cruel to an animal (including domestic rabbits) faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is an ambitious plan which sets out an overview of the Government’s main priorities on animal welfare and conservation, particularly those which require legislative action and reform. It is not exhaustive of every animal welfare issue which the Government covers. While the Action Plan does not refer explicitly to rabbit welfare, the Government cares about rabbit welfare and my department continues to work closely with organisations such as the Companion Animal Sector Council to monitor developments in welfare standards for all domestic animals including rabbits. My department is also happy to engage with rabbit welfare groups on an ongoing basis about their concerns.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to review the (a) sale and (b) use of rodent glue traps across the UK; and whether he has plans to (i) introduce an outright ban, (ii) prohibit public sale and use and (iii) regulate use by other operators of those traps.

The use of glue traps is being considered very closely as part of the Government's continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

We will look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control to help make sure rodents are despatched in a humane manner. Glue traps can cause immense suffering to rodents and other animals that inadvertently fall victim to their use.

Anyone using glue traps already has a responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to act within the law to ensure their activities do not cause any unnecessary suffering.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increase in supermarket deliveries since the start of the covid-19 outbreak on the use of single use plastic bags by supermarkets.


Since 5 October 2015, large retailers in England have been required by law to charge a minimum of 5p for single-use carrier bags (SUCBs) and to report on the amount they sell each year. The data for the year 2020-2021 will be published in the summer.

The full datasets for each reporting year are on Gov.UK and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england.

The obligation for supermarkets to charge for SUCBs supplied with online deliveries (online grocery delivery bags) was temporarily removed in response to the first Covid-lockdown. These changes were only temporary, from 21 March 2020 to 21 September 2020. This exemption was made as a precautionary measure and in order to allow retailers time to adapt their delivery systems. As well as the charge exemption, the obligation to report during this time period was waived. The charge for these bags was reinstated in September 2020 along with the reporting requirement. Therefore the dataset for the year 2020-2021, will not include data from this period on bags used for online deliveries.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage a shift from conventional single use plastic films to certified compostable alternatives; and if he will set a target under the Environment Bill to accelerate that process.

While compostable materials may be seen as a solution to reduce the impact of waste, they can also be more environmentally damaging than non-compostable materials if disposed of incorrectly. The Government is concerned that, some claims about the compostability of plastic-based products cannot be verified.

In order to consider impacts carefully, Defra and BEIS published a call for evidence to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our waste management system. We are currently analysing responses to the call for evidence and will publish the Government’s response shortly.

Our Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our ambition to transition to a circular economy by keeping resources in the system for longer and extracting maximum value from them, before recycling materials when they can no longer be reused. We have recently published consultations on introducing Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging and introducing a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers. These consultations will inform policy that will transform the economic incentives on packaging producers by encouraging an increase in the amount and quality of unavoidable plastic packaging that is recycled or reused, so driving up recycling rates and helping to move us towards a circular economy.

We are also preparing to launch a second consultation on increasing the consistency of materials collected for recycling from households, businesses and other organisations in England, which will seek views on the collection and disposal of compostable and biodegradable materials and the recycling of plastic films.

The UK Plastics Pact is targeting plastic film as a coordinated effort involving the entire value chain to fix the system to create a circular economy for single use plastic films. Last year the Plastics Pact published a roadmap ‘Creating a Circular Economy for Flexible Plastic Packaging’, which sets out the high-level actions that need to be taken by each part of the value chain. The new roadmap sets out five key areas where efforts should be focused in order to develop a circular economy for flexible plastics. These are: designing packaging that can be recycled and sorted; capitalising on existing front of store collection points; implementing kerbside collection by all local authorities; investing in sorting and reprocessing capacity and capabilities; and ensuring strong and stable end markets for recycled flexible plastic packaging.

The Environment Bill requires the Government to set at least one long-term, legally binding target in four priority areas, including Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction. This will not be focused on increasing the use of compostable plastics, instead the target will ensure a holistic approach to all materials. These targets will be set following a robust, evidence-led process that includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, and parliamentary scrutiny.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of local authorities with responsibility for waste recycling centres have introduced charges for the use of waste recycling services; and if he will provide details of (a) which local authorities have introduced those charges and (b) how much each of those local authorities is charging for those services.

Defra does not hold records on which household and waste recycling centres (HWRCs) charge for the disposal of waste. The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 set out charging arrangements for different categories of waste, including waste delivered to HWRCs. Charges made by local authorities to dispose of DIY waste vary and some do not charge for this service.

In our Resources and Waste Strategy we committed to ensuring that charging arrangements in the Controlled Waste Regulations are clear, especially in relation to waste arising from small scale DIY construction activities carried out by ordinary householders with no specialist skills, which the government has been clear should not be charged for. We will review the Household Waste Recycling Centre services and the Controlled Waste Regulations and, subject to consultation, will amend them to ensure they remain fit for purpose, charges are fairly applied, and that services are accessible, support high levels of recycling and deliver value for money.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to collect and scan cats injured or killed in road traffic accidents for a microchip and inform their owners.

It is established good practice for local authorities to scan any cat or dog found on the streets so that the owner can be informed. Cats Protection reports that 80% of councils in England routinely scan cats involved in accidents.

Additionally, Highways England has clear guidelines for contractors to follow when they find a deceased cat or dog. This process is designed with owners in mind, giving them the best chance of being informed of the incident to allow closure. The process is laid out in the Network Management Manual and in 2015 the necessary arrangements were made in all Highways England’s contracts to collect and identify cats and dogs killed on the strategic road network and to contact their owners.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to his answer to Q40 in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's oral evidence session on The work of DEFRA, HC 261, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of strengthening requirements for cats entering the UK.

The end of the transition period will present new opportunities for managing our own Pet Travel rules and welfare arrangements for all pets, including cats. We are listening to the concerns of stakeholders around future requirements and the Government is developing a range of options to ensure there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare whilst allowing pet owners to continue to be able to travel to and from the EU with the minimum of disruption.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of pregnant dogs illegally imported into the UK in 2020.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) only holds records of pregnant dogs where other non-compliances were found at time of interception on entry to Great Britain. APHA does not record details of compliant animals which were pregnant at time of interception.

According to APHA records, eight dogs were seized in 2020 under Council Regulation (EC) no 1/2005, Annex I, FITNESS FOR TRANSPORT, Chapter I, 2(c) ‘pregnant females for whom 90% or more of the expected gestation period has already passed’. An additional 11 pregnant bitches not in their last 10% were seized in 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that (a) dog and (b) cat meat is not being consumed in the UK.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats. The UK is a leader when it comes to the protection of animals, and we intend to go even further now that we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and we have seen no evidence that dog or cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country. The organisation behind the recent campaign to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat in this country acknowledged this point.

We are confident that our current position sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other governments at every suitable opportunity, and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) adequacy of the regulation and enforcement of pet imports, (b) trends in the level of pet imports during the covid-19 outbreak and (c) effect of the UK leaving the EU on pet imports.

Defra takes the illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to animals and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk.

In terms of the regulation and enforcement of non-commercial pet travel movements, we operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in the world. All pet animals entering Great Britain on approved routes under the EU Pet Travel Scheme undergo documentary and identity checks, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) works collaboratively with Border Force and other operational partners at ports, airports and inland, sharing intelligence to enforce the Pet Travel Scheme, disrupt illegal imports and seize non-compliant animals. Any animals found to be non-compliant with the Pet Travel Scheme rules may be refused entry or detained until compliant.

Regarding changing levels of pet imports (both commercial and non-commercial) during the COVID-19 lockdown, APHA has confirmed that during the initial period of lockdown (March-April 2020), we saw a reduction of pet movements. This increased to relatively routine figures as COVID-19 movement restrictions were eased. On non-commercial pet travel, 14,718 pets were moved into Great Britain in March 2020. Numbers of movements then fell to 1,834 in April 2020 and rose to 4,810 in May 2020. On the commercial imports of cats, dogs and ferrets under the Balai Directive, 2,506 animals were imported into the UK in March 2020, falling to 1,114 in April 2020. Numbers of commercial imports are steadily rising again and now sit at 6,741 for the month of August 2020.

The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own commercial and non-commercial import and pet travel arrangements. The Government will be considering our pet travel and import arrangements (including for puppies and kittens) as part of cracking down on puppy smuggling in line with our manifesto commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats report entitled Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness, published July 2020, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of the effectiveness of pet ownership on (a) reducing loneliness and (b) reducing cost to the NHS.

I recognise the important role that pets play in providing companionship to owners of all ages in this country. Recent events have highlighted how much we, as a nation of animal lovers, value this companionship, as we experienced restrictions in social contact and saw an increased demand for pets, including cats, both for purchase and rehoming. I agree with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats that cats can help alleviate loneliness.

Defra officials will engage with the Department of Health and Social Care in relation to any actions they wish to take relating to those aspects and recommendations in the report covering mental health issues and associated NHS costs.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to strengthen the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme.

The Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously, and that is why we have committed to cracking down on puppy smuggling. Looking to the future, leaving the EU after the transition period may open up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel arrangements, including ensuring there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations of Dogs Trust’s 2018 report entitled, Puppy Smuggling: When will this cruel trade end.

Defra takes the issue of puppy smuggling seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to puppies and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. We continue to work closely with Dogs Trust to address this issue and understand the evolving trade.

The Government is developing a range of options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling, taking into consideration the recommendations of Dogs Trust and other stakeholders. As part of this work, we have conducted a renewed rabies risk assessment and have commissioned assessments to understand the risks posed by tapeworms, as well as ticks and tick-borne disease. The results of these will be used to inform our future policy options.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many invalid emission reporting results there were at the Viridor energy recovery facility incinerator on Beddington lane in south London during January 2020.

The Environment Agency (EA) as the regulatory body for the site will receive the returns from the operator for January 2020. These will be submitted to the EA in April 2020 as part of the quarterly reporting process. This information is then reviewed and validated by the EA. Following this process the EA will be able to confirm the number of invalid emissions, if any.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the level of carbon monoxide emissions from the Viridor energy recovery facility incinerator on Beddington Lane in South London during January 2020.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates the Energy Recovery Facility (Erf) in Beddington Lane, Sutton through an Environmental Permit under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The permit has strict conditions relating to acceptable levels of emissions of substances. The ErF operator (Viridor) is required to continuously and periodically monitor the emissions from the Erf stacks and submit the monitoring data quarterly to the EA.

The EA assesses all data submitted including breaches in emission limits for trends and requires the operator to investigate issues and take actions to rectify them.

The quarterly monitoring data that covers January 2020 is due to be submitted to the EA before end of April 2020. The EA have not received any notifications for breaches in emission limits during January 2020.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of air pollutants generated by the Viridor energy recovery facility incinerator on Beddington Lane in South London.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates the Energy Recovery Facility (Erf) in Beddington Lane, Sutton through an Environmental Permit under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The permit has strict conditions relating to acceptable levels of emissions of substances. The ErF operator (Viridor) is required to continuously and periodically monitor the emissions from the Erf stacks and submit the monitoring data quarterly to the EA.

The EA assesses all data submitted including breaches in emission limits for trends and requires the operator to investigate issues and take actions to rectify them.

The quarterly monitoring data that covers January 2020 is due to be submitted to the EA before end of April 2020. The EA have not received any notifications for breaches in emission limits during January 2020.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of air pollution in (a) the UK and (b) Carshalton and Wallington constituency.

Air quality is generally improving in the UK, as set out in the annual National Statistics report at the following URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/air-quality-statistics.

There are 171 automatic national monitoring stations producing hourly air quality measurements in the UK operated by the Environment Agency on behalf of Defra. Near real-time measurements from these sites and further data tools can be found on the UK-AIR website (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk).

There are no automatic national monitoring stations in Carshalton and Wallington constituency. However, the London Borough of Sutton also assesses air quality using three automatic monitors within the constituency boundary: two are industrial monitoring stations at Beddington Lane, and the other site is a roadside site in central Wallington. Near real-time measurements from these sites can be found on the London Air website which is managed by King’s College London (http://londonair.org.uk). Air quality is improving at all three sites, with only the Wallington site providing an exceedance of the annual mean limit value for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2019 (based on provisional data).

The Borough also uses 15 passive monitors to measure NO2 within the constituency boundaries; measurements are made available through Annual Status Reports (https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200497/pollution/1232/air_pollution/3). Only two exceedances of the annual mean limit value for NO2 were observed in 2018 (at Rosehill Roundabout and London Road, Hackbridge) with levels at most sites either showing a lower or similar value compared with 2017 levels.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department has taken to help prevent the occurrence of fire incidents at waste incinerator sites.

No assessment has been made of trends in the number of fires being reported at waste incinerator sites since 2015.

In England all incinerators that are regulated by the Environment Agency (such as energy from waste plants that burn municipal waste) are required to have a management system which identifies and minimises the risk of pollution due to accidents, which will include fires. All new incinerators must also have an approved fire prevention plan before they are allowed to start operating.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of trends in the number of fires being reported at waste incinerator sites since 2015.

No assessment has been made of trends in the number of fires being reported at waste incinerator sites since 2015.

In England all incinerators that are regulated by the Environment Agency (such as energy from waste plants that burn municipal waste) are required to have a management system which identifies and minimises the risk of pollution due to accidents, which will include fires. All new incinerators must also have an approved fire prevention plan before they are allowed to start operating.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment she has made of the environmental effects of mechanical biological treatment waste processes and waste incineration processes.

Defra has not made such an assessment. Residual waste should be treated in accordance with the waste hierarchy.

To assist decision makers, the department published information on the mechanical biological treatment of waste in 2013. This can be found on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/mechanical-biological-treatment-of-municipal-solid-waste.

Information on energy from waste (incineration with energy recovery) was published in 2014 at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-from-waste-a-guide-to-the-debate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to extend the rental e-scooter trials beyond 31 May 2024.

The e-scooter trials were extended to 31 May 2024 to gather further evidence where gaps are identified, and to build on the findings of the current evaluation. No decision has been made on extending the trials beyond this date.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with Govia Thameslink Railway on step free access for the southbound platform at Carshalton Beeches station.

Carshalton Beeches station was nominated for Access for All funding in 2019 but was not selected as other stations in the region better met the selection criteria. The Department looks forward to receiving a further bid for Carshalton Beeches once the nomination process for the next round of the Access for All programme commences shortly.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government supports the delivery of the Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme; what financial settlement the Government plans to award Network Rail to deliver that scheme; and what his timeframe is for delivery of that scheme.

The Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme seeks to address capacity constraints and improve service performance on the Brighton main line. While this scheme would offer valuable improvements to services on the line, it will require a significant amount of public funding.

Although I am unable to discuss the status of individual projects in development at this time, it is becoming clear that the pandemic has brought about large change to commuting behaviours requiring government to make difficult decisions to bring rail spending back to affordable levels. I remain committed to publishing an update to the Rail Network Enhancement Portfolio, thereby confirming the status of individual schemes across England and Wales, including the Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Govia Thameslink Railway on restoring rail services to pre-pandemic levels, especially during peak hours, to and from (a) Carshalton, (b) Carshalton Beeches, (c) Hackbridge and (d) Wallington stations.

The level of peak services at these four stations is broadly similar to that offered in the December 2019 timetable (the most recent timetable not affected by the pandemic). Services are operated by Thameslink and Southern, and both are continuing to work collaboratively with Network Rail and across the industry to improve the punctuality and reliability of services.

As COVID-related restrictions have eased, the industry is adjusting service levels across the country. In line with the Department’s objectives, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which operates Thameslink and Southern services, is focusing on providing more capacity for commuters returning to the workplace. Its 15 May 2022 timetable change increases the frequency of weekday services where there was significant unmet demand. GTR aims to use its trains as efficiently as possible and reduce overlap where an alternative service exists. Across the GTR network, passenger numbers are approximately 70% of pre-pandemic levels.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Govia Thameslink Railway on the (a) safety concerns regarding the gap between the train and the platform and (b) length of the platform at Hackbridge station; and whether his Department plans to offer assistance in tackling those concerns.

The Department is aware that for Southbound services at Hackbridge station, there is a larger than usual gap between the platform and the front of the train resulting from the age of the station. Network Rail has secured funding to deliver a full renewal of the platform which will reduce the gap. This will include a new platform edge, resurfacing and wider works to the track and track drainage. The platform has been fitted with signage advising customers of the gap and encouraging the use of doors further along the platform.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with (a) Transport for London (TfL) and (b) the London Borough of Sutton on (i) bus, (ii) rail and (iii) other public transport access requirements to the London Cancer Hub site.

Transport in London is devolved and is the responsibility of the Mayor of London and Transport for London. However, the Department is currently in active discussions with Govia Thameslink Railway to investigate opportunities to improve rail services which will make the London Cancer Hub more accessible.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend e-scooter trials beyond March 2022.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. The evaluation will help us to understand any shift from other modes of transport to e-scooters. A final report will be published in spring 2022.

E-scooters are less polluting than petrol/diesel powered vehicles, so using an e-scooter instead of driving will reduce emissions and improve air quality. They may result in less congestion. A lot depends on mode shift. If people use an e-scooter instead of a car we will see environmental benefits. Our monitoring and evaluation programme is in place to assess the extent of modal shift.

Future decisions on e-scooters will be based on the evidence we gather in our trials. These decisions include what happens to trials after 31 March 2022. There are a number of potential options, but no decisions have yet been taken.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of e-scooter trials on CO2 emissions.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. The evaluation will help us to understand any shift from other modes of transport to e-scooters. A final report will be published in spring 2022.

E-scooters are less polluting than petrol/diesel powered vehicles, so using an e-scooter instead of driving will reduce emissions and improve air quality. They may result in less congestion. A lot depends on mode shift. If people use an e-scooter instead of a car we will see environmental benefits. Our monitoring and evaluation programme is in place to assess the extent of modal shift.

Future decisions on e-scooters will be based on the evidence we gather in our trials. These decisions include what happens to trials after 31 March 2022. There are a number of potential options, but no decisions have yet been taken.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the end of e-scooter trials in March 2022 on rates of (a) car use, (b) bus use, (c) train use and (d) walking and cycling.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. The evaluation will help us to understand any shift from other modes of transport to e-scooters. A final report will be published in spring 2022.

E-scooters are less polluting than petrol/diesel powered vehicles, so using an e-scooter instead of driving will reduce emissions and improve air quality. They may result in less congestion. A lot depends on mode shift. If people use an e-scooter instead of a car we will see environmental benefits. Our monitoring and evaluation programme is in place to assess the extent of modal shift.

Future decisions on e-scooters will be based on the evidence we gather in our trials. These decisions include what happens to trials after 31 March 2022. There are a number of potential options, but no decisions have yet been taken.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that collisions involving a motor vehicle with a horse and a rider on a public highway are treated the same as a collision with any other vulnerable road user even if the rider is unhurt.

Provisions within the Road Traffic Act 1988 set out the duties which exist in the event of a collision between a motor vehicle and animal, including a horse. A driver who causes injury to a horse must provide their name and address to anyone reasonably requiring it, failing which they must report the incident to the police. If the driver fails to do any of this, they are guilty of an offence, for which they could be arrested and prosecuted. There is no requirement for the police to attend the incident.

The Department is taking steps to improve safety for horse riders using the highway through updates to The Highway Code which will introduce safe passing speeds and distances. The Highway Code in its current form already mentions horse riders and the need for drivers to exercise special care in relation to them.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the level of police involvement is in the event where a ridden horse is hit by a motor vehicle on a public highway and killed and the rider is uninjured.

Provisions within the Road Traffic Act 1988 set out the duties which exist in the event of a collision between a motor vehicle and animal, including a horse. A driver who causes injury to a horse must provide their name and address to anyone reasonably requiring it, failing which they must report the incident to the police. If the driver fails to do any of this, they are guilty of an offence, for which they could be arrested and prosecuted. There is no requirement for the police to attend the incident.

The Department is taking steps to improve safety for horse riders using the highway through updates to The Highway Code which will introduce safe passing speeds and distances. The Highway Code in its current form already mentions horse riders and the need for drivers to exercise special care in relation to them.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when a decision will be made on the bid for funding from the second round of Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund for step-free access at Carshalton Beeches station.

We will be announcing the outcome of the second round of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund in the coming weeks.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with (a) Transport for London and (b) the Mayor of London on TfL's decision to suspend funding for the tramlink extension to Sutton.

In May the Government agreed a £1.6 billion funding and finance package with Transport for London (TfL) to enable them to continue operating essential services, transporting passengers safely and protecting staff during the pandemic.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor and there are difficult choices to be made to ensure that he is minimising the call on the government funding package in the interest of the taxpayer.

Government is currently undertaking a review of TfL’s finances which will consider TfL’s revenues and costs over the next five years.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to improve transport connectivity in Carshalton and Wallington constituency.

Government works with all key partners across the country, including Transport for London (TfL) and London Boroughs, to ensure consideration is given to transport connectivity from the earliest stages of the development of proposals.

In addition, as part of the Extraordinary Funding and Finance Agreement, agreed to by the Mayor of London and the Deputy Mayor for Transport, TfL are pushing forward with an ambitious Active Travel Plan to promote cycling and walking, including new segregated cycle lanes, closures of roads to traffic and pavement extensions across London, which is supported by £55 million from the funding package.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to support a platform extension at Hackbridge station.

No assessment has been made of the merits of making platform extensions at Hackbridge. As part of its ongoing programme of network planning, the Department has received no indication from Network Rail that platform extensions at Hackbridge would be a priority for enhancement funding at this time.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to improve rail connectivity in Wallington, Carshalton, Carshalton Beeches and Hackbridge after planned infrastructure improvements as part of Network Rail’s Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme.

The Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme is part of the wider Brighton Mainline Upgrade Programme. If the Programme goes ahead, it will deliver additional capacity and performance improvements through the Croydon and Selhurst area and across the southeast. The origin and destination of new services has not yet been determined, but could include additional services to those stations listed in the Hon Gentleman’s question.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, who has been (a) present and (b) given apologies for all meetings between his Department and (i) Transport for London and (ii) the Mayor of London and Office of the Mayor of London from 1 January 2020 to date.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport meet regularly with representatives of the Mayor’s office and Transport for London to discuss a wide range of topics. During the COVID 19 outbreak these meetings have necessarily increased, and are often held daily. Due to the frequency of these meetings, it would be impractical to provide a definitive list of attendees and apologies for all of these meetings.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from (a) Transport for London and (b) the Mayor of London on the potential merits of increasing the congestion charge in London.

As part of the funding package agreed with the Mayor of London to allow Transport for London to continue operating essential services in London during the COVID 19 outbreak, the Mayor agreed to reinstate the congestion charge. The decision to temporarily increase the congestion charge was taken by the Mayor and will be considered as part of the upcoming Government lead review of TfL’s financial position.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce emissions from vehicle idling.

Powers to tackle vehicle idling are available to Local Authorities, including the ability to issue Fixed Penalty Notices where necessary. However, this issue will not be solved simply through fining motorists. Local Authorities should utilise a range of methods to encourage motorists to change their behaviour, including public information campaigns. Better technology can play a part in addressing idling, such as stop-start technology and low- or -zero-emission vehicles. In particular the growth in Electric Vehicle sales is expected to assist in lowering emissions.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve accessibility at Carshalton Beeches railway station.

The Access for All programme provides accessibility improvements over and above those required by the rail industry. Carshalton Beeches was nominated for the programme but not selected as it was difficult to justify its inclusion ahead of other busier stations with a higher industry priority.

However, I am committed to improving access at all stations, and will continue to seek further opportunities, and funding, to make more improvements.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of delayed and cancelled Southern rail services scheduled to depart Wallington station at (a) 07.32am and (b) 08.02am for London Bridge station since January 2019.

I have not made an assessment of Southern rail services departing Wallington at this time. However, please note that, on the whole, since January 2019, we have recorded On Time figures of 71%, with cancellations recording 4.1%

The Department monitors each train operator’s overall performance against its performance benchmarks regularly and there are clear actions set out in the franchise agreement should performance drop below what is expected.

From February 2019 to February 2020 for Govia Thameslink Railway, the Moving Annual Average (MAA) Passenger Performance Measure (PPM), was 85.2%. This is a 3.1% improvement on the previous year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Southern Rail’s performance in 2019.

From February 2019 to February 2020 for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the operator of Southern services, the Moving Annual Average Passenger Performance Measure (PPM), which measures trains arriving at their destination within 5 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, was 85.2%. This is a 3.1 point improvement on the previous year. Southern is the best performing of GTR’s brands with a PPM figure of 86.1% for the most recent four-week period. There is still room for improvement and the Government is committed to investing around £48 billion in maintaining and upgrading the rail network in the period from 2019 to 2024, focused on increasing reliability and punctuality for passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the punctuality of Southern Rail services (a) calling at and (b) departing from (i) Wallington, (ii) Hackbridge, (iii) Carshalton and (iv) Carshalton Beeches railway stations in 2019.

For these stations, the annual averages for trains calling within one minute of the scheduled time are: 74.0% of services at Wallington, 70.0% of services at Hackbridge, 86.6% of services at Carshalton and 78.1% of services at Carshalton Beeches. The Department monitors each train operator’s overall performance against its performance benchmarks (cancellations, delay minutes and capacity) regularly and there are clear actions set out in the franchise agreement should performance drop below what is expected.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the passenger capacity of Southern Rail services (a) calling at and (b) departing from (i) Wallington, (ii) Hackbridge, (iii) Carshalton and (iv) Carshalton Beeches railway stations in 2019.

The Department monitors each train operator’s overall performance against its performance benchmarks, and this includes the capacity regime, which measures the number of short formations during the peaks. Govia Thameslink Railway is currently meeting the required levels. However should it fail to do so there are clear actions set out in the franchise agreement in order to remedy any underperformance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage Southern Rail to improve the (a) punctuality and (b) passenger capacity of services (i) calling at and (ii) departing from (A) Wallington, (B) Hackbridge, (C) Carshalton and (D) Carshalton Beeches railway stations.

The Department monitors each train operator’s overall performance against its performance benchmarks (cancellations, delay minutes and capacity) regularly and there are clear actions set out in the franchise agreement should performance drop below what is expected. The Department is committed to working with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in driving punctuality higher and, in partnership with Network Rail and other industry partners, GTR is focused on continuous improvement through the joint On Time Railway initiative.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding young people's access to occupational health services on their mental health.

The Government recognises that expert-led impartial advice, and interventions such as Occupational Health (OH), can provide appropriate and timely work-based support, including for young people, to manage mental health conditions in the workplace. OH as advisory support has a broad remit, including assessments of fitness for work, advice about reasonable adjustments, workability, or return to work plans and can signpost to treatment for specific mental health conditions.


In addition to this, the DWP Youth Offer provides individually tailored Work Coach support to young adults aged 16 to 24 who are in the Universal Credit Intensive Work Search group. Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisors work with local partners to signpost young adults to appropriate support. Youth Hubs work with partners to address barriers to young adults moving into employment, including other risk factors that could be associated with mental ill health. The type of support provided in hubs aims to meet the needs of young adults in their local community. We have recommended that all new Youth Hubs consider the barriers young people are facing (including access to mental health support) when determining the support services and partners available from a hub.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of eligible people who are not claiming pension credit; and what assessment she has made of the reasons people are not claiming that benefit.

Estimates of the number of families entitled to pension but not claiming it can be found in the following publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2018-to-2019

Information regarding the research carried out by the department around why those entitled to Pension Credit do not claim can be found in the following publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-eligible-non-recipients-barriers-to-claiming-rr819

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the impact of trends in average waiting times for biomarker and genomic testing on waiting times for cancer treatment.

NHS England has implemented capturing of Patient Level Contract Monitoring data across the National Health Service Genomic Laboratory Hubs (GLHs) to facilitate a national approach to reporting and validating activity data and turnaround times. This will enable NHS England to understand activity volumes, detect any backlogs, and institute recovery. NHS England undertakes a quarterly assurance process with each of the NHS GLHs to monitor improvements in turnaround times to ensure these are being met in every region and for all patients.

NHS England is also undertaking a programme of work alongside clinical experts, including the Medical Royal Colleges, to establish clinically relevant cancer turnaround times across diagnosis, prognosis, treatment determining clinical use cases and optimising cancer pathways to ensure genomic test results are provided in a clinically relevant timeframe.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will take steps to ensure future NHS genomic testing publications include data on access to different cancer tests based on an individual's (a) ethnicity, (b) socioeconomic status and (c) type of cancer test.

National Health Service genomic testing activity data, collected from all seven NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs, is available on the NHS England website. NHS England will continue to publish this data on a quarterly basis. The published data indicates the total volume of genomic testing activity completed per month, broken down into cancer and rare and inherited disease. The cancer data is further separated into nine different categories of cancer. NHS England is looking into separating this further if there are other specific categories of cancer test type which would be of interest. The published data does not currently include data broken down by ethnicity or socioeconomic status, but NHS England’s ambition is to improve and expand future publications of the data, which may include areas relating to health inequalities.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of variations in access to genetic and genomic testing for cancer through the NHS Genomics Medicine Service; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce these variations.

The seven NHS Genomic Medicine Service Alliances raise awareness of genomics among healthcare professionals and support delivery of equitable access to genomic testing, clinical genetics, and genomic counselling services. NHS England has also established the NHS Genomics Ethics, Equity and Legal Advisory Group to ensure that the NHS Genomic Medicine Service (NHS GMS) provides equitable access to all patients. The group will identify and review appropriate datasets to inform health inequalities analysis of the NHS GMS, and identify actions to address inequalities.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the availability of genomic testing.

The National Genomic Test Directory defines which genomic tests must be delivered by the NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs in England, as well as who is eligible for genomic testing. The directory currently covers testing for over 3,200 rare diseases and over 200 cancer clinical indications. NHS England regularly updates the directory, through a robust and evidence-based test evaluation process, to keep pace with scientific and technological advances, and to ensure that genomic testing is available for all patients for whom it would be of clinical benefit. Testing is available for all eligible patients across England.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care during the Westminster Hall debate on Healthcare Services: Carshalton and Wallington on 23 May 2023, Official Report, Column 71WH, what progress her Department has made on producing a radical dentistry plan.

We are working on our Dentistry Recovery Plan which will address how we continue to improve access, particularly for new patients; and how we make National Health Service work more attractive to ensure NHS dentists are incentivised to deliver more NHS care.

Our Dentistry Recovery Plan will build upon the first package of reforms agreed in July 2022, which included changes to banding and the introduction of a minimum Units of Dental Activity value. Our plan will include addressing how we continue to improve access, particularly for new patients; and how we make NHS work more attractive to ensure NHS dentists are incentivised to deliver NHS care.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help tackle inequalities in access to PrEP.

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group (ISG) is developing a roadmap to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV. This forms part of the group’s work to monitor and drive forward the implementation of the HIV Action Plan. The roadmap is expected to be made available by the HIV Action Plan ISG before the end of the year.

HIV PrEP is routinely available in specialist sexual health services throughout the country since March 2020 and we have invested more than £34 million in PrEP in 2020/21 and 2021/22. PrEP funding has been fully included within the public health grant since 2022/23 and funds appointments and testing in sexual health services, whilst NHS England covers the costs of the drug itself. The PrEP monitoring and evaluation framework was published by the UK Health Security Agency in March 2022 and consists of a series of indicators to support local authorities and inform service improvement in PrEP commissioning and delivery, providing local areas with information that can help them address inequalities in uptake of PrEP.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make PrEP available (a) online, (b) in pharmacies and (c) in GP surgeries.

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group (ISG) is developing a roadmap to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV. This forms part of the group’s work to monitor and drive forward the implementation of the HIV Action Plan.

HIV PrEP is currently only prescribed at specialist sexual health services, but as we work towards our 2030 ambitions we will explore opportunities for making it available in a variety of settings. The PrEP roadmap considers actions needed to improve HIV PrEP access pathways in settings other than specialist sexual health services, including online, general practitioner services and pharmacies, to enable potential future delivery in other settings. The roadmap is expected to be made available by the ISG by the end of the year.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on whether (a) trans women with a gender recognition certificate will be banned from and (b) trans men will be expected to use female wards; and whether this policy will apply in all (i) healthcare settings and (ii) circumstances.

It is imperative that National Health Service trusts respect the privacy and dignity of patients. The Government has been clear that patients should not have to share sleeping accommodation with others of the opposite sex and should have access to segregated bathroom and toilet facilities. NHS England’s Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation Guidance outlines the approach that should be taken to placing trans patients on single-sex wards. The guidance is being updated and a revised version will be published in due course.

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, recently announced that proposals to protect the privacy, dignity and safety of patients will be brought forward later this year as part of the routine update of the NHS Constitution and its Handbook. Any measures consulted on will be fully in line with the Equality Act 2010, respecting the rights of all patients in hospital settings.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the role of pharmacists in increasing access to routine vaccinations.

The Department continues to work with NHS England and UK Health Security Agency to explore ways to increase uptake of the national immunisation programmes, including how pharmacies can contribute further to vaccination delivery, alongside other providers.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve (a) data collection and (b) reporting for routine immunisation programmes.

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is responsible for the published official and national statistics on vaccination coverage and adapts its data collection and reporting to incorporate new vaccines and changes to the immunisation programmes.

UKHSA monitors vaccination coverage of all the routine immunisation programmes in England. Data for preschool immunisations is monitored through the COVER programme (Cover of Vaccinations Evaluated Rapidly). Data is collected and collated quarterly and annually measuring coverage at ages one, two and five years. The latest quarterly reports covers the period January to March 2023:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cover-of-vaccination-evaluated-rapidly-cover-programme-2022-to-2023-quarterly-data/quarterly-vaccination-coverage-statistics-for-children-aged-up-to-5-years-in-the-uk-cover-programme-january-to-march-2023

UKHSA also monitors and publishes data for England on the coverage of vaccinations offered to adolescents, adults, and the selective programmes, including shingles, PPV, pertussis for pregnant women, human papillomavirus (HPV), Td/IPV adolescent vaccine, MenACWY vaccine, influenza, BCG. Vaccination Uptake data can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#cover-of-vaccination-evaluated-rapidly-programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce variations in the level of the uptake of routine vaccination programmes.

The Department works with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England to improve immunisation coverage for all, including those from under-vaccinated communities, through a range of initiatives. This includes data to better identify under-served individuals and populations, training for healthcare professionals and communication with the public, offering alternative delivery routes and local outreach efforts to connect with communities with historically lower uptake are informed of the benefits of vaccines. It also includes ensuring everyone can access through provision of immunisation leaflets available in over 15 languages as well as being available in braille, BSL, large print and audio versions.

It is vitally important that everyone takes up the vaccinations to which they are entitled; for themselves, their families, and wider society. Anyone unsure about their eligibility or vaccination status should contact their GP for advice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what horizon scanning for vaccines against infectious diseases is conducted by (a) the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, (b) the UK Health Security Agency, (c) the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, (d) his Department and (e) NHS England; and whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of current approaches for supporting immunisation policy development and implementation.

Horizon scanning at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) aims to future-proof the agency by identifying emerging opportunities and challenges, to ensure it remains an enabling regulator capable of supporting safe innovation with respect to healthcare products.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) works closely with national and international partners to assess the risks posed by infectious diseases. Horizon scanning for vaccines is conducted against disease threats identified by the National Security Risk Assessment. Other criteria covered in UKHSA’s horizon scanning for vaccines include the risk of an outbreak occurring, burden of disease and feasibility of vaccine development.

UKHSA also works closely with global vaccine developers and manufacturers and with vaccine funders to ensure knowledge is constantly provided to support policy decisions on vaccine procurement and deployment.

The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) identifies gaps relating to immunisations or immunisation programmes where further research and/or surveillance should be considered.

NHS England works closely with JCVI, the Department and UKHSA to operationalise decisions made by Government on vaccinations and immunisation programmes across England.

The Department provides investment through the National Institute of Health and Care Research Innovation Observatory in health innovation futures scanning. This provides awareness and access to intelligence to support national decision making around health care innovation, in particular supporting National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Accelerated Access Collaborative within the National Health Service.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the (a) impact of migraines on levels of economic inactivity and (b) potential impact of reducing migraine diagnosis times on levels of economic inactivity.

To reduce the time taken to diagnose conditions such as migraines, NHS England has published a delivery plan for recovering access to primary care. As part of this plan, the National Health Service will deliver on the commitment of 26,000 more direct patient care staff and 50 million more appointments in general practice by March 2024.

To step up our focus on tackling rising economic inactivity due to long-term sickness, including those living with migraine, the Government announced a further wide-reaching package at the Spring Budget to support disabled people and people with health conditions to work.  Initiatives include a work coach support for disabled people and people with health conditions, as well as introducing a new supported employment programme (Universal Support) which focuses on providing faster access to joined-up work and health support.

The Department does not hold specific information on the impact of migraines on levels of economic activity.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has has made an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact on public health of changes in the levels of closures of pharmacies between 2015 and 2023.

No assessment has been made of the impact on public health of pharmacy closures.

The Department closely monitors the market to ensure that people in England have good access to National Health Service pharmaceutical services, including services focused on health promotion and prevention of ill-health. Despite the increase in pharmacy closures seen in recent years, there is a similar number of pharmacies to ten years ago, and about 80% of the population live within 20 minutes’ walking distance of a pharmacy. Every three years, local authorities’ Health and Wellbeing Boards in England undertake pharmaceutical needs assessments for their areas to ensure that provision continues to meet their populations’ needs.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for pharmacies.

No recent discussions have been held. However, in May, as part of the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, we announced a further investment of up to £645 million over two years to expand the services offered by community pharmacies.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal commits £2.592 billion each year to the sector. Previously, in September 2022, we announced an additional one-off £100 million investment across this and last financial year to support the expansion of services delivered by community pharmacies.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to expand the gender clinic pilot schemes.

NHS England has so far commissioned five new pilot gender identity clinics based in primary care and sexual health services. These services are currently operating in London, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and East of England. Another pilot testing the primary care-based model, will go live in Sussex in September 2023. Following a positive evaluation of one of the pilots, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a seven-year contract to develop and expand its service.

The intention, if further pilots are evaluated positively, is to award substantive contracts, following due governance processes. Ongoing evaluation will inform NHS decisions on rolling this model of provision out nationally

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

The National Health Service is improving pathways to get people diagnosed faster once they are referred and is looking into alternative routes into the system, including non-specific symptom (NSS) pathways for patients who do not fit clearly into a single ‘urgent cancer’ referral pathway but who are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer. 103 NSS pathways are currently operational, with more in development.

The NHS bowel cancer screening programme is currently available to everyone aged 60 to 74 years old every two years. Since April 2021, the NHS in England has been gradually reducing the age for bowel screening. The age extension programme began in 2021/22, inviting people aged 56 years old and plans to complete rollout to age 50 years old by 2024/25. This extension was recommended to improve the number of cancers detected and helping to prevent it in some cases.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2022 to Question 8181 on Hospitals: Sutton, what progress the Government has made on the formation of a detailed timetable for the delivery of a new hospital in the London Borough of Sutton.

All business cases are required to follow the proper processes for effective appraisal including ensuring value for money. The scheme for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is currently at Outline Business Case stage. Once approved the trust will begin work on its Full Business Case.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has already received £20.5 million in funding for its new hospital scheme. The scheme is part of the Pathfinder cohort, which are the first of the larger and more complex schemes to be taken forward aligned, with the national programme approach. The cohort grouping of schemes is based on readiness to progress and the extent to which schemes can realise the benefits of a national programmatic approach.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on signing off the Full Business Case for the development of a new hospital in the London Borough of Sutton.

All business cases are required to follow the proper processes for effective appraisal including ensuring value for money. The scheme for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is currently at Outline Business Case stage. Once approved the trust will begin work on its Full Business Case.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has already received £20.5 million in funding for its new hospital scheme. The scheme is part of the Pathfinder cohort, which are the first of the larger and more complex schemes to be taken forward aligned, with the national programme approach. The cohort grouping of schemes is based on readiness to progress and the extent to which schemes can realise the benefits of a national programmatic approach.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to expand the number of clinical services that pharmacies can provide.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-2024 sets out how community pharmacy will be integrated into the National Health Service, deliver more clinical services and provide treatment and advice for minor illnesses. Since 2019, minor illness referrals from NHS 111 and general practitioners and blood pressure checks have been introduced.

In September, the Government announced the agreement with the sector for the remainder of the Framework, supported by a one-off investment of £100 million. Under the agreement, community pharmacists will manage and initiate contraception and provide additional support to patients newly prescribed antidepressants. In addition, urgent emergency care settings will refer patients to a community pharmacist for a minor illness consultation or an urgent medicine supply.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Department will publish its plans to reform pharmacy as part of the primary care reform plan.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-2024 sets out how community pharmacy will be integrated into the National Health Service, deliver more clinical services and provide treatment and advice for minor illnesses. Since 2019, minor illness referrals from NHS 111 and general practitioners and blood pressure checks have been introduced.

In September, the Government announced the agreement with the sector for the remainder of the Framework, supported by a one-off investment of £100 million. Under the agreement, community pharmacists will manage and initiate contraception and provide additional support to patients newly prescribed antidepressants. In addition, urgent emergency care settings will refer patients to a community pharmacist for a minor illness consultation or an urgent medicine supply.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish further information on its future plans for the NHS Special Schools Eye Care Service; how many special schools were in receipt of the NHS Special Schools Eye Care Service as of 26 October 2022; and how many children attend those schools.

There are 83 special schools with approximately 9324 children who have participated in the NHS England’s Special Schools Eye Care Service proof of concept programme.

NHS England are currently evaluating the programme to inform the future of any special schools’ sight testing service model and will set out the next steps in due course.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on the development of the 10-year cancer plan; and when he plans to publish that plan.

I’d like to thank the over 5,000 individuals and organisations who responded to the call for evidence. As a new Government, we are considering how best to take forward the 10 year cancer plan.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on developing a new ten-year plan to help tackle dementia.

We will set out plans for dementia in England shortly.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for primary breast cancer diagnosis by increasing the mammography capacity of the NHS.

We have committed £2.3 billion to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and launch up to 160 community diagnostic centres by March 2025 to reduce waiting times for clinical tests. This investment will also increase capacity in mammography for symptomatic patients, with funding determined imaging network bids, which are currently being developed.

NHS England will ensure that 75% of patients who have been urgently referred by their general practitioner for suspected cancer will be diagnosed or have cancer ruled out within 28 days by March 2024.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to NHS Dentistry in Carshalton and Wallington constituency.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders, including the British Dental Association, to improve the National Health Service dental system, with negotiations are currently underway on initial measures. This aims to improve patient access, reduce health inequalities and make the NHS a more attractive place to work for dentists, including in Carshalton and Wallington. We will a provide a timetable for implementation when these negotiations conclude.

Between April and June 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked practices to deliver at least 95% of contracted units of dental activity to safely improve access for patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure regular testing and post-treatment follow-up of hepatitis C in (a) drug services, (b) pharmacies and (c) sexual health services.

The Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service ensures that people who inject drugs who are not currently accessing community drug and alcohol treatment services can be tested for hepatitis C (HCV) at a participating community pharmacy. This service has recently been extended until at least March 2023. Where individuals test positive for HCV antibodies, they will be referred for appropriate further testing and treatment via the relevant NHS Operational Delivery Network.

Within drug services, a new micro-elimination criteria accompanied by guidance from NHS England encourages providers to increase rates of HCV testing and ensure engagement in treatment for any patients testing positive. The National Health Service has recently established an opt-out HCV testing pilot in sexual health services. The pilot has shown the benefit of HCV testing in sexual health services is limited, with large number of tests being required to find a small number of cases at rates no higher than observed in the general population. However, any positive tests in sexual health services are directed to clinical treatment and followed up to confirm a sustained virological response at 12, 24 and 48 weeks post-treatment.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the publication of the report by the Hepatitis C Trust and HCV Action on Reframing Reinfection in March 2022, what steps he is taking to understand and address the needs of people with complex needs who are not yet being reached, diagnosed and treated for Hepatitis C.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) publishes an annual report which summarises the prevalence of hepatitis C infection in England and areas for action. This includes estimates of re-infection following treatment and how this should be addressed, such as annual testing for those most at risk in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The latest report ‘Hepatitis C in England 2022: Working to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health problem’ is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1057271/HCV-in-England-2022-full-report.pdf

NHS England’s hepatitis C elimination programme has approximately 40 elimination initiatives aimed at identifying patients, testing, prevention and treatment. The programme is now focusing on those who may be unaware that they have historically been ‘at risk’, through testing in emergency departments, antenatal services and primary care.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 March 2022 to Question 146652 on Breast Cancer: Screening, what steps his Department plans to take this year to increase uptake of breast screening in areas and amongst communities with historically lower levels of uptake.

In 2022/23, National Health Service regional commissioners will work with Cancer Alliances and charities to develop regional uptake improvement plans. This will include incorporating the lessons learned from the successful COVID-19 vaccination programme in achieving a high uptake among disadvantaged communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS England prioritises dementia within the refreshed NHS Long Term Plan and new National Dementia Strategy; and if he will make a statement.

The updated NHS Long Term Plan is expected to be published later this year and discussions on its content are continuing. We will set out plans for dementia in England for the next 10 years later this year, including on diagnosis, risk reduction and prevention and research. The strategy will include ambitions for research to develop new disease-modifying treatments.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the length of time that patients transported to the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust by ambulance (a) have to wait for an ambulance to arrive and (b) remain waiting in an ambulance before being admitted into A&E.

No specific assessment has been made as this information is not collected centrally.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is improving ambulance handover times through monitoring ambulance arrivals and waiting times. Dedicated areas for patients awaiting a trolley have been established to allow ambulance crews to respond to calls. The Trust has monthly meetings with London Ambulance Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service to review handover times and a standard operating procedure to support ambulance handovers to the urgent treatment centre and same day emergency care service for appropriate patients has been established.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the extent of backlogs in elective surgery at (a) the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and (b) the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

As of March 2022, there were 44,286 patients waiting for elective treatment at the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, of which 193 waited over 52 weeks and two waited more than 104 weeks. In March 2022, there were 1,502 patients waiting for elective treatment at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, of which six waited over 52 weeks. No patients waited more than 104 weeks.

The Department is investing more than £8 billion over the next three years to increase elective activity and reduce waiting lists. This is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available to systems in 2021/22. This funding could deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million further checks, scans and procedures and aims to deliver 30% more elective activity by 2024/25 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his revised timetable is for the delivery of the new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton.

The new hospitals programme is working with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust on a plan and timetable for a new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support liver disease patients as the NHS recovers from the covid-19 pandemic.

Liver disease is a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. £2.3 billion of capital funding has been allocated in the Spending Review 2021 for investment in diagnostic services, to support transformation of those services, with the increased capacity being used to diagnose liver disease. Regions will work with Integrated Care Systems, diagnostic networks, and primary care services to determine the location and configuration of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDC) services, based on the needs of the local population. National guidance on speciality pathways suitable for CDC sites, with liver disease as an area of focus, is being developed with support from the national clinical advisors. NHS England has prioritised the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal to eliminate Hepatitis C, a significant cause of end-stage liver disease, as a public health issue in advance of the WHO 2030 target.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on patients with liver disease and the recent ONS data showing a 20 per cent increase in alcohol-related liver disease deaths in 2020.

Rates of admission to hospital where the primary diagnosis was liver disease decreased in 2020-21 compared with 2019-20. Rates of admission to hospital for alcoholic liver disease increased over the same period.

The government published a report in July 2021 on the changes of alcohol consumption and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deaths from alcoholic liver disease in 2020 accounted for 80.3% of total alcohol specific deaths. In 2020, there were 5,608 deaths from alcoholic liver disease, a 20.8% increase from the 4,643 deaths in 2019. The increase has been linked with to increased alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers.

The report is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/alcohol-consumption-and-harm-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to make further use of the community pharmacy network during the roll out of the covid-19 vaccination booster.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is currently running a further expression of interest exercise for community pharmacy, in areas where there are gaps in the provision of booster vaccination. All community pharmacy sites are supported to extend their opening hours and ensure they can deliver at their maximum capacity. Community pharmacy vaccination sites have also been supported through a wide range of other measures including increased fees for the service and flexible opening hours to allow the sites to focus on the vaccination service.

No assessment has yet been made on the potential role that the community pharmacy sector could play in helping to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, in the event that regular boosters are required. At present, the need for and frequency of any potential recurrent boosters’ programme is not known. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will maintain close review of available data related to durability of protection against severe COVID-19 in all age groups and will develop further advice in due course.

16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential role that the community pharmacy sector could play in helping to deliver covid-19 vaccinations in the event that regular boosters are required.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is currently running a further expression of interest exercise for community pharmacy, in areas where there are gaps in the provision of booster vaccination. All community pharmacy sites are supported to extend their opening hours and ensure they can deliver at their maximum capacity. Community pharmacy vaccination sites have also been supported through a wide range of other measures including increased fees for the service and flexible opening hours to allow the sites to focus on the vaccination service.

No assessment has yet been made on the potential role that the community pharmacy sector could play in helping to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, in the event that regular boosters are required. At present, the need for and frequency of any potential recurrent boosters’ programme is not known. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will maintain close review of available data related to durability of protection against severe COVID-19 in all age groups and will develop further advice in due course.

16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential increased pressures that community pharmacies will experience as primary care providers focus on the covid-19 vaccination booster programme.

The impact has been discussed with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee. As a result, it has been agreed that all community pharmacies will benefit from contractual easements, to reduce pressure and to increase capacity. The deadline for meeting the requirements of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme will be extended and the requirements to complete the Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire for 2021/2022 and both a national and local multidisciplinary clinical audits have been waived.

Community pharmacy led vaccination sites will be able to amend their opening hours to focus on the vaccination service. To support patients during these closures, vaccination sites will be able to deliver urgent medication to patients who need their medicines while the pharmacy is closed. Also, as with other vaccination sites, community pharmacy vaccination sites are eligible for increased fees for any booster they administer before the end of January.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of local authority referrals into social care that are allocated to occupational therapists.

Local authorities have a duty to meet eligible care needs of their local populations. This includes, where appropriate, referrals to an occupational therapist. The information on the proportion of local authority referrals into social care which are allocated to occupational therapists is not held centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of local authority referrals into social care are allocated to occupational therapists.

Local authorities have a duty to meet eligible care needs of their local populations. This includes, where appropriate, referrals to an occupational therapist. The information on the proportion of local authority referrals into social care which are allocated to occupational therapists is not held centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2021 to Question 62570, on Kidney Diseases: Dialysis Machines, whether his Department plans to set a deadline for each of the renal clinical networks to implement a workforce plan to ensure the delivery of the dialysis programme as set out in the GiRFT report.

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) speciality report on renal medicine, published September 2021, recommended that all renal centres provide a minimum of 20% of patients with dialysis services at home within 12 months.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Services Transformation Plan (RSTP) has established 11 regional clinical networks to meet this recommendation. Of 51 renal centres, 16 units have met or exceeded this minimum level, with several centres achieving more than 30% of patients receiving dialysis at home. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked renal networks to ensure units continue to develop home therapies and increase levels of dialysis at home. Providers, integrated care systems and regional commissioners will monitor progress via the UK Renal Registry and NHS England Renal datasets.

The GIRFT report set a deadline for all centres to establish the required staffing model by September 2022. NHS England and NHS Improvement are encouraging clinicians and centres to consider the GIRFT recommendations in their work and the individual sites will evaluate how best to implement them.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2021 to Question 62570, on Kidney Diseases: Dialysis Machines, when his Department expects all renal centres to meet the recommendation outlined in the GiRFT report to achieve a 20 per cent minimum home dialysis rate; and what steps his Department plans to take to encourage those centres that have achieved a 20 per cent minimum home dialysis rate to increase that rate.

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) speciality report on renal medicine, published September 2021, recommended that all renal centres provide a minimum of 20% of patients with dialysis services at home within 12 months.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Services Transformation Plan (RSTP) has established 11 regional clinical networks to meet this recommendation. Of 51 renal centres, 16 units have met or exceeded this minimum level, with several centres achieving more than 30% of patients receiving dialysis at home. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked renal networks to ensure units continue to develop home therapies and increase levels of dialysis at home. Providers, integrated care systems and regional commissioners will monitor progress via the UK Renal Registry and NHS England Renal datasets.

The GIRFT report set a deadline for all centres to establish the required staffing model by September 2022. NHS England and NHS Improvement are encouraging clinicians and centres to consider the GIRFT recommendations in their work and the individual sites will evaluate how best to implement them.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the cost to the NHS of the treatment of strokes and heart attacks in people with chronic kidney disease.

We have not made a specific assessment. Information on such costs is not collected in the format requested.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Royal College of Physicians’ 2020 census finding that 38 per cent of advertised consultant posts were unfilled in south London, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the number of medical school places in England.

We have funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England – a 25% increase over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England. In addition, we have temporarily lifted the cap on medical school places for students who completed A-Levels in 2020 and in 2021 and who had an offer from a university in England to study medicine, subject to their grades. There are currently no plans to further increase the number of places.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home staff have received a covid-19 booster vaccine.

By 26 October 2021, 100,305 care home staff were reported to have received a COVID-19 booster vaccine or approximately 18% of all reported care home staff.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when all remaining eligible care home residents will have been invited to receive their covid-19 booster vaccine.

All care home residents are eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination at three months since their second dose was administered. Booster doses have been delivered at over 99% of older adult care homes in England. Roving vaccination teams will continue to visit care homes to deliver additional doses required. Where there are care homes currently experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, booked visits by vaccination teams will take place when it is safe for all to do so.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase take-up of the covid-19 booster vaccine amongst care home residents.

All care home residents are eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination at three months since their second dose was administered. Booster doses have been delivered at over 99% of older adult care homes in England. Roving vaccination teams will continue to visit care homes to deliver additional doses required. Where there are care homes currently experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, booked visits by vaccination teams will take place when it is safe for all to do so.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that an interim access arrangement is agreed for Trodelvy.

In view of the rapid approval of Project Orbis medicines, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have developed an interim process to support patient access to medicines between Project Orbis licensing approval and publication of NICE guidance. It is anticipated that this will only be required in the short term. Consideration is given to:

- whether there is expected to be three months or longer between regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and publication by NICE of its final draft guidance;

- if there are any direct competitors expected to go through the NICE technology appraisal process within the next six months;

- if the treatment will make a fundamental, positive change to the existing treatment pathway; and

- whether the company will offer the medicine or treatment on a cost neutral basis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE are continuing to work with the manufacturer to explore options for interim access to Trodelvy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria is for interim access arrangements for oncology products licensed through Project Orbis.

In view of the rapid approval of Project Orbis medicines, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have developed an interim process to support patient access to medicines between Project Orbis licensing approval and publication of NICE guidance. It is anticipated that this will only be required in the short term. Consideration is given to:

- whether there is expected to be three months or longer between regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and publication by NICE of its final draft guidance;

- if there are any direct competitors expected to go through the NICE technology appraisal process within the next six months;

- if the treatment will make a fundamental, positive change to the existing treatment pathway; and

- whether the company will offer the medicine or treatment on a cost neutral basis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE are continuing to work with the manufacturer to explore options for interim access to Trodelvy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure hospital patients from the Jewish community are being served fresh Kosher foods that allow a comparable choice at mealtimes, without compromising on the strict dietary laws that they must follow.

The independent review of National Health Service hospital food was published on the 20 October 2020 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-nhs-hospital-food

It includes recommendations to improve hospital food for patients, staff and visitors, including the religious requirements of patients, visitors and staff. An expert group is being assembled to implement the recommendations of this report, with a sub-group to look at how food is best provided to patients given their medical conditions, personal or cultural preferences and religious requirements. This sub-group will include representatives from religious organisations. While Kosher foods are not mentioned specifically, it is part of wider cultural and diversity work.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of men with suspected prostate cancer who were able to access and receive diagnostic tests through private sector capacity block purchased by the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak, by region.

No estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to prioritise prostrate cancer in a new cancer strategy for England; and if he will make a statement.

The Department’s cancer strategy is incorporated as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Prostate cancer priorities are included as part of the Long Term Plan such as the introduction of a faster diagnosis standard. This includes the delivery of optimal timed diagnostic pathways for specific cancers, including prostate cancer.

Personalised stratified follow up pathways for prostate cancer are being launched across England to empower patients to take control of their care. Prostate cancer is one of the first three cancers for which this is being implemented.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that men with advanced prostate cancer have access to quality patient care and innovative treatments.

Treatment options for prostate cancer are always expanding and in February 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s specialised commissioning team announced that it would make available external beam radiotherapy to treat hormone sensitive, low volume prostate cancer. In addition to external beam radiotherapy, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence will review several new treatment options for prostate cancer in the next 12 months.

Following treatment for prostate cancer, patients move to a Personalised Stratified Follow-Up pathway that suits their needs and ensures they can get rapid access to clinical support where they are worried that their cancer may have recurred. This stratified follow-up approach was established in all trusts for prostate cancer in 2020. In response to the pandemic, the NHS also made available a range of ‘COVID-19 friendly’ treatments, offering benefits such as fewer hospital visits or a reduced impact on the patient’s immune system. This includes targeted hormone therapies such as enzalutamide for prostate cancer treatment.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of prescription of anti-psychotic medication in the care of people with dementia.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of anti-psychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. They have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for these trends.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings published by the Disabled Children’s Partnership in February 2021 that 70 per cent of disabled children have been unable to get therapies for their development during the covid-19 lockdown, what plans his Department has to ensure that disabled children receive the therapies they need for their development.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance entitled ‘COVID-19 restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response in the community health restoration’ on 3 June 2020 and updated this on 31 July 2020. This makes clear that community services, including therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one. These services fall under the category of ‘continue essential services’.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing tomosynthesis to digital mammography to improve the accuracy of breast screening.

Research is underway in the Prospective Trial of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, carried out by Kings College Hospital NHS Trust in breast screening. This trial involves 100,000 women participating in screening to assess whether tomosynthesis is a useful addition to the routine breast screening programme. The United Kingdom National Screening Committee will review the results of the research expected to be published in 2024.

Tomosynthesis has been approved for use in the National Health Service breast screening programme as an optional extra tool in the assessment of screen detected soft tissue breast abnormalities, following the primary screen.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will direct NHS England to prioritise women with dense breast tissue when tackling the cancer screening backlog accrued as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

In addressing the cancer screening backlog resulting from COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Improvement have made prioritisation decisions based upon expert clinical advice and engagement with Public Health England (PHE). On the basis of a United Kingdom National Screening Committee evidence review, PHE has advised that breast density measurements are not yet accurate enough to be safely used in routine breast screening. There is also no readily available breast density measurement for women currently in the programme. It is therefore not advisable or feasible to prioritise invitations for breast screening by breast tissue density.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing AI-driven mammography to (a) support radiologists and (b) increase capacity in the breast cancer screening programme.

There is currently no published evidence in large scale prospective trials that Artificial intelligence (AI) would be equivalent or better than the current model of having two independent human mammogram readers. AI continues to generate huge amounts of interest for its potential role in the NHS. There is interest in AI for breast screening, where it could replace a human reader of mammograms.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) and Public Health England have developed interim guidance for AI developers to help consider key metrics required that would assist the UK NSC to make a recommendation on the use of AI. Both are working with the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative who are funding a large study in 2021 to understand whether AI can be a useful support to the programme. More information is available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/aac/

More information about AI and screening can be found at the following link; https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/02/advice-for-nhs-breast-screening-services-on-the-use-of-ai/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of using breast density measurement software to identify women with dense breast tissue for the purpose of prioritising those women for breast cancer screening.

In 2019, the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) commissioned a systematic review to look at the issue of breast density. The review found that breast density is related to risk of breast cancer. However, breast density measurements are not yet robust or repeatable enough, there is no ‘gold standard’ test to validate breast density measurements. For these reasons that the UK NSC recommended that additional screening with ultrasound after a negative mammography screening in women with dense breasts should not be introduced. More robust evidence is needed before risk stratification can be considered within the breast screening programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what methodology his (a) Department and (b) NHS England have used to calculate the volume of the backlog of cancer patients awaiting (a) screening and (b) treatment that has accrued as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish those calculations.

National Health Service screening programmes do not hold waiting lists, therefore there is no published waiting time data. Eligible patients are invited to participate in NHS screening programmes at intervals according to the specific programme.

Data sources used by for cancer treatment include cancer waiting times data which give month by month figures on activity, referrals and waiting times, as well as management information which can provide a week to week view of activity and the current scale of the waiting list. Hospital Episode Statistics, and the secondary uses service are used alongside specific sources of information such as the Radiotherapy Dataset or the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. Data are considered by geography, provider trust, tumour pathway and treatment modality to pinpoint areas for further action.

From March, local systems will be expected to carry out local plans formed as part of the Cancer Services Recovery Plan and continue the progress that has already been made.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to (a) make an assessment of the effectiveness of the NHS Cancer Recovery Plan and (b) provide additional funding to improve capacity in cancer services to tackle the covid-19-outbreak-induced cancer treatment and diagnostic backlogs.

The Cancer Recovery Plan aims to restore urgent referrals at least to pre-pandemic levels, to reduce the number of people waiting over 62 days from urgent referral and ensure sufficient capacity to meet demand. The latest published data for November 2020 showed urgent referrals 2% above pre-pandemic levels, the number of people waiting over 62 days 24% above pre-pandemic levels and the number of people starting a first cancer treatment within 31 days at 95% of pre-pandemic levels.

In August 2020, the National Health Service announced a £160 million initiative to extend access to ‘COVID-friendly’ cancer treatments, in October, issued £150 million in funding to expand diagnostic capacity. A further £325 million funding of diagnostics equipment was announced in November’s Spending Review and cancer patients will continue to be prioritised within the NHS and will benefit from the additional £1 billion to begin tackling the elective backlog. Departmental officials regularly engage with their counterparts at HM Treasury regarding upcoming fiscal events.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions officials of his Department have had with officials of the Treasury on ensuring that the 2021 Spring Budget includes sufficient funding for cancer (a) diagnostic and (b) treatment services to help tackle the increasing backlogs in those areas that have accrued as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Cancer Recovery Plan aims to restore urgent referrals at least to pre-pandemic levels, to reduce the number of people waiting over 62 days from urgent referral and ensure sufficient capacity to meet demand. The latest published data for November 2020 showed urgent referrals 2% above pre-pandemic levels, the number of people waiting over 62 days 24% above pre-pandemic levels and the number of people starting a first cancer treatment within 31 days at 95% of pre-pandemic levels.

In August 2020, the National Health Service announced a £160 million initiative to extend access to ‘COVID-friendly’ cancer treatments, in October, issued £150 million in funding to expand diagnostic capacity. A further £325 million funding of diagnostics equipment was announced in November’s Spending Review and cancer patients will continue to be prioritised within the NHS and will benefit from the additional £1 billion to begin tackling the elective backlog. Departmental officials regularly engage with their counterparts at HM Treasury regarding upcoming fiscal events.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government will publish its response to the Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020’s Green Paper consultation.

The Government response to the consultation has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the announcement of the National Institute for Health Protection in August, we are also considering the best future arrangements for the wide range of Public Health England’s non-health protection functions that are vital to support health improvement, prevention and delivery of health services and we will be setting out further details of our approach in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) children who do not meet the thresholds for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and (b) other children with poor mental health can access support.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon MP) on 8 October 2020 to Question 99607.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of (a) the effectiveness of the tiers system in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and (b) the use of alternative therapeutic approaches for children who have experienced trauma.

‘Future in Mind’, published by the Department and NHS England in 2015, recommended that children and young people’s mental health services move away from the concept of tiers, in which the system is defined by the services that provide the care, towards models that are defined by how they address patients’ needs.

NHS England has worked with Health Education England to deliver the children and young people’s improving access to psychological therapies programme. It trains new and existing staff working in children and young people’s mental health services and includes evidence-based trauma informed practice.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has made recommendations on the psychological interventions for the prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and young people in its guideline.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve eye health services.

Prevention, early detection and access to timely treatment are all key to improving eye health. The Government has well-established programmes on reducing smoking and obesity, both long terms risk factors for vision loss.

Free National Health Service sight tests, a vital eye health check, are available to all children, those aged 60 and over, individuals on low incomes or at increased risk of certain eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes which can lead to sight loss. The diabetic retinopathy screening programme continues to offer screening to those eligible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national outpatient transformation programme is also looking to improve secondary care ophthalmology outpatient services, to improve patient experience, access to care and outcomes.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the reopening of sexual health services after the covid-19 outbreak.

Sexual and reproductive health services remained open during the pandemic. However physical access remains more limited. Services are maintaining access during this time through scaling up of online services including increasing eligibility through current provision or utilising a neighbours’ service for residents of another local authority. Public Health England has recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of online services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the safety issues identified with Randox testing kits will have an effect on the publication date of his care home visitation guidance.

The recall of Randox test kits during the summer has not had any impact on the publication of Care Home visiting guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish guidance on the use of PPE in social care settings for people who (a) are deaf and (b) have communication needs.

It is critical that personal protective equipment (PPE) supply reflects equality needs. We are working to understand the different types of PPE that may be needed by those with protected characteristics (as covered under equalities legislation) and how best to distribute that PPE, to address equality for health and social care workers.

The Government recognises that some health and care workers have reported difficulties with the practical use of some PPE. We are committed to understanding the needs of frontline staff, including those for people with different protected characteristics.

We are currently piloting the use of clear masks in social care settings via Local Resilience Forums.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to bring forward a long-term social care reform proposal by the end of 2020 which recognises the additional cost of dementia care.

The Government’s number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to bringing forward a plan for social care reform and want to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and offered the security they deserve, and that nobody needing care is forced to sell their home to pay for it. We want to find long-term solutions for one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. There are complex questions to address and it is important that we give these issues our full consideration in the light of current circumstances.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to review the suspension of face-to-face community rehabilitation services in England.

All community services, including rehabilitation, that were previously stopped or partially stopped, should now be fully reinstated. This includes, where needed, home visits for vulnerable adults, subject to appropriate infection control protections.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to local authorities to enable them to meet their obligation under the Care Act 2014 to ensure that pets, which are considered property of an individual, are looked after if an individual is hospitalised as a result of covid-19.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have a duty to protect the moveable property (which includes pets) of adults with care and support needs, who are in hospital or are away from home in accommodation such as care homes.

We have provided £3.7 billion to local authorities through un-ringfenced grants so they can address the expenditure pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
What progress his Department has made on the building of new hospitals.

Considerable progress has been made since the announcement of the Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) schemes last September, despite coronavirus impacts. A number of the six HIP 1 schemes for new hospitals are approaching early enabling works. HIP 2 schemes have received seed funding and are working up their business cases at pace. We remain committed to, and on target to deliver, on our pledge to build 40 new hospitals.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to hold its stakeholder roundtable events on the national sexual health and reproductive health strategy.

Work on the development of a new national sexual and reproductive health strategy is underway with the Department working with Public Health England, NHS England and Improvement, local government and other partners. Some initial engagement with stakeholders has already taken place and we are also considering the responses to the Green Paper ‘Advancing our Health’ and the suggestions for priority areas for the new strategy we received through the consultation process. Details of the strategy’s scope, plans for more formal engagement with external organisations, including roundtables, timing of publication and implementation will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish its national sexual health and reproductive health strategy.

Work on the development of a new national sexual and reproductive health strategy is underway with the Department working with Public Health England, NHS England and Improvement, local government and other partners. Some initial engagement with stakeholders has already taken place and we are also considering the responses to the Green Paper ‘Advancing our Health’ and the suggestions for priority areas for the new strategy we received through the consultation process. Details of the strategy’s scope, plans for more formal engagement with external organisations, including roundtables, timing of publication and implementation will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish further information on how (a) routine commissioning of PrEP will be (i) implemented and (ii) funded and (b) local health commissioners will be supported during the rollout of that routine commissioning.

Anyone requesting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through the Impact Trial must meet the agreed eligibility criteria. A core function of the trial’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to raise awareness and uptake of PrEP in key populations. Further information about PrEP Impact Trial CAB activities and participating community groups can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/npc-crg/blood-and-infection-group-f/f03/prep-trial-updates/

The Impact Trial website includes a map showing the distribution of the 154 clinics level 3 Sexual Health Services participating in the trial at the following link:

www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of PrEP from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded and how commissioners will be supported very shortly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure access for all to PrEP prior to routine commissioning starting in April 2020.

Anyone requesting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through the Impact Trial must meet the agreed eligibility criteria. A core function of the trial’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to raise awareness and uptake of PrEP in key populations. Further information about PrEP Impact Trial CAB activities and participating community groups can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/npc-crg/blood-and-infection-group-f/f03/prep-trial-updates/

The Impact Trial website includes a map showing the distribution of the 154 clinics level 3 Sexual Health Services participating in the trial at the following link:

www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of PrEP from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded and how commissioners will be supported very shortly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of cancer treatment outcomes in the (a) Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and (b) Royal Marsden NHS Trusts.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has a strong track record of providing high quality care to people with suspected or confirmed cases of cancer in a timely manner. Last year, the Trust met all of the waiting time standards we expect for cancer patients, including seeing 97.2% of patients with a suspected cancer within two weeks of their general practitioners (GPs) referral, 99.1% of patients began treatment with 31 days of diagnosis, and 89% of patients began treatment within 62 days of their initial referral.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is working on plans to improve the patient’s experience through their cancer journey. This includes access to a clinical nurse specialist or key worker, and they have recently appointed three Advanced Nurse Practitioners and funding approved to increase number of clinical nurse specialists. The Trust is introducing ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’ – a new work stream to improve patient experience and care beyond their diagnosis and initial treatment and improving quality of life for those living with cancer. This includes NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection on long term quality of life metrics, stratified follow up pathways, reducing and managing long term outcomes of treatment, and Holistic Needs Assessments.

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust is a research active organisation, with an academic partnership with The Institute of Cancer Research, and, together, are ranked third in the world for impact of their research. The Royal Marsden is continually looking to improve the treatment options and facilities they offer to patients, including the first linear accelerators (LINAC) in the country and third in the world, which is now treating patients across six tumour types as part of clinical trials.

The Royal Marsden is also the host of RM Partners, the only cancer alliance in England to achieve the 62 day target consistently during 2018/19 and which was awarded a further £10 million in funding from NHS England to continue to improve cancer outcomes for the population across west London.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking improve cancer treatment in the (a) Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and (b) Royal Marsden NHS Trust.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has a strong track record of providing high quality care to people with suspected or confirmed cases of cancer in a timely manner. Last year, the Trust met all of the waiting time standards we expect for cancer patients, including seeing 97.2% of patients with a suspected cancer within two weeks of their general practitioners (GPs) referral, 99.1% of patients began treatment with 31 days of diagnosis, and 89% of patients began treatment within 62 days of their initial referral.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is working on plans to improve the patient’s experience through their cancer journey. This includes access to a clinical nurse specialist or key worker, and they have recently appointed three Advanced Nurse Practitioners and funding approved to increase number of clinical nurse specialists. The Trust is introducing ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’ – a new work stream to improve patient experience and care beyond their diagnosis and initial treatment and improving quality of life for those living with cancer. This includes NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection on long term quality of life metrics, stratified follow up pathways, reducing and managing long term outcomes of treatment, and Holistic Needs Assessments.

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust is a research active organisation, with an academic partnership with The Institute of Cancer Research, and, together, are ranked third in the world for impact of their research. The Royal Marsden is continually looking to improve the treatment options and facilities they offer to patients, including the first linear accelerators (LINAC) in the country and third in the world, which is now treating patients across six tumour types as part of clinical trials.

The Royal Marsden is also the host of RM Partners, the only cancer alliance in England to achieve the 62 day target consistently during 2018/19 and which was awarded a further £10 million in funding from NHS England to continue to improve cancer outcomes for the population across west London.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve quality of care for patients in the (a) Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and (b) Royal Marsden NHS Trusts.

Both Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust are committed to improving patient care.

The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports on Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust show for the first time the trust being rated as Good overall. CQC findings indicated improvements and progress in most areas of care.

The CQC continued to rate the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust as outstanding overall.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the average age of patients in the (a) Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and (b) Royal Marsden NHS Trusts.

A consultation is currently underway. The consultation document sets out potential improvements in clinical outcomes for patients under three different options. This includes a new specialist emergency care hospital.

The potential impact of the proposals on accessibility and travel times has been analysed as part of the consultation process and further detail can be found at the following link:

https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/?s=baseline+travel+analysis

The attached table shows the finished consultant episodes (FCE) and average age in Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust for the last three years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of patient travel times to each of the location options for the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Royal Marsden NHS Trusts proposed specialist emergency care hospital.

A consultation is currently underway. The consultation document sets out potential improvements in clinical outcomes for patients under three different options. This includes a new specialist emergency care hospital.

The potential impact of the proposals on accessibility and travel times has been analysed as part of the consultation process and further detail can be found at the following link:

https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/?s=baseline+travel+analysis

The attached table shows the finished consultant episodes (FCE) and average age in Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust for the last three years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of travel times to acute hospital services on outcomes for elderly patients.

A consultation is currently underway. The consultation document sets out potential improvements in clinical outcomes for patients under three different options. This includes a new specialist emergency care hospital.

The potential impact of the proposals on accessibility and travel times has been analysed as part of the consultation process and further detail can be found at the following link:

https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/?s=baseline+travel+analysis

The attached table shows the finished consultant episodes (FCE) and average age in Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust for the last three years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a new hospital to serve the Epsom and St Helier University Hospital and Royal Marsden NHS trusts.

A consultation is currently underway. The consultation document sets out potential improvements in clinical outcomes for patients under three different options. This includes a new specialist emergency care hospital.

The potential impact of the proposals on accessibility and travel times has been analysed as part of the consultation process and further detail can be found at the following link:

https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/?s=baseline+travel+analysis

The attached table shows the finished consultant episodes (FCE) and average age in Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust for the last three years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to introduce (a) travel bans and (b) sanctions on politicians promoting the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023 in Uganda; what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on coordinating potential sanctions; and if he will make a statement.

I issued a statement on 29 May strongly condemning the Government of Uganda's decision to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 into law. The UK does not speculate on future sanctions designations, as to do so would reduce their impact. We will continue to stand up for human rights and freedoms in Uganda and around the world.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to monitor anti-Ahmadi rhetoric in (a) Punjab province and (b) Pakistan.

Protecting and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) remains central to the UK Government's human rights engagement in Pakistan. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, raised the treatment of Ahmadi Muslims with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on 30 January. On 9 January, Minister of State for Development Andrew Mitchell raised the issue with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The British High Commission in Islamabad continues to engage at a senior level with government representatives and civil society, including on recent attacks on Ahmadi mosques.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Pakistani Government following a recent spate of violence against the Ahmadi community including the desecration of mosques.

Protecting and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) remains central to the UK Government's human rights engagement in Pakistan. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, raised the treatment of Ahmadi Muslims with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on 30 January. On 9 January, Minister of State for Development Andrew Mitchell raised the issue with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The British High Commission in Islamabad continues to engage at a senior level with government representatives and civil society, including on recent attacks on Ahmadi mosques.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support LGBT+ people (a) fleeing or (b) seeking to flee Uganda following the passage of the anti-homosexuality bill in that country on 21 March 2023.

I expressed the UK's profound disappointment with the decision of the Parliament of Uganda to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill threatens minority rights and risks persecution and discrimination of people across Uganda. The UK Government is alarmed by the increasing criminalisation of LGBT+ people in Uganda and by the amendments to the Bill, including introduction of the death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality'. The UK Government is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country.

Through our High Commission in Kampala, we have raised these issues with the Government of Uganda and are working with members of the LGBT+ community and human rights defenders to understand their views and further protect the rights of these vulnerable communities. We will continue to work with the Governments of Commonwealth member states and civil society partners to reform outdated laws and end discrimination and violence against LGBT+ people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Ugandan Government on the anti-homosexuality bill passed by the Parliament of Uganda on 21 March 2023.

I expressed the UK's profound disappointment with the decision of the Parliament of Uganda to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill threatens minority rights and risks persecution and discrimination of people across Uganda. The UK Government is alarmed by the increasing criminalisation of LGBT+ people in Uganda and by the amendments to the Bill, including introduction of the death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality'. The UK Government is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country.

Through our High Commission in Kampala, we have raised these issues with the Government of Uganda and are working with members of the LGBT+ community and human rights defenders to understand their views and further protect the rights of these vulnerable communities. We will continue to work with the Governments of Commonwealth member states and civil society partners to reform outdated laws and end discrimination and violence against LGBT+ people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to recent reports of the inhumane treatment of dogs in a government-run facility in Mauritius, if he or officials of his Department will make representations to the Government of Mauritius on taking steps to ensure the humane treatment of dogs held in that facility.

The mistreatment of any animal is to be deplored. The UK Government is committed to raising standards of animal welfare at home and abroad, and we believe that it is necessary to work with governments around the world to gain agreement to animal welfare standards. Our High Commissioner in Port Louis raised the issue of the treatment of stray and abandoned dogs recently with the Mauritian authorities. The High Commission regularly meets representatives of the Mauritian Government to discuss values championed by the UK and will continue to do so.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to end preventable child deaths.

The UK is committed to ending the preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030, as part of our leadership on global health. This is more important than ever, given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 20 years, UK aid has helped immunise over 760 million children, saving over 13 million lives.

We will maintain our position as a global health leader, investing in Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance; the Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria; and the International Finance Facility for Immunisation. The UK is also partnering with countries to improve investments in health systems, including sexual and reproductive health and nutrition services, working towards universal health coverage. This will help to end preventable deaths, and address the impacts of COVID-19 on health systems in our partner countries.

24th Nov 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the extent of human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

The UK Government takes the human rights situation in Sri Lanka very seriously.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, raised a number of human rights concerns, including harassment of civil society and militarisation of civilian functions, when he spoke with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Gunawardena on 5 November.

We have urged Sri Lanka to address concerns in our statements to the UN Human Rights Council in February, June and September.

The UK will continue to highlight our concerns to the Government of Sri Lanka, and we will support human rights through our programme work including resettlement of victims of conflict and improving responses to sexual and gender based violence.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of supporting an independent investigation headed by a foreign delegation to review the Chunnakam water pollution incident in the Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka.

We are aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July. A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation was offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. We will continue to engage with local government in the North to ensure these concerns around water management and quality are understood, and that measures are taken to ensure clean water.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much tax revenue his Department received in reimbursements of car mileage set higher than the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment rate in financial year 2022-23; and what proportion of that revenue represented of the overall income tax take for that year.

The requested information is not available as payments above the Approved Mileage Allowance rate are taxable as earnings and are therefore not separately reportable to HMRC, so cannot be separately identified.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department plans to reply to the correspondence dated 16 January 2023 from the Rt Hon Member for Chingford and Woodford Green and others on the fundraising appeal by London’s Air Ambulance; and whether he has held discussions with representatives of that charity on its fundraising appeal since 16 January 2023.

My Rt Hon Friend the Health secretary has responded to the letter on behalf of the Government commending the fantastic service provided by London Air Ambulance and setting out the benefits of the current charitable funding model for air ambulances which was supported by an additional £10m of central government funding in 2019 and a further £6m during the pandemic.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social care on the approval of the Full Business Case to build a new hospital in the London Borough of Sutton.

As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, both the Chancellor and I discuss a range of priorities on health with DHSC Secretary of State including delivery of new NHS infrastructure. The Hon member will know that the NHS was funded at the Spending Review 2020 with £3.7bn for 4 years up to 2024/25 to make progress on the 40 hospitals announced as part of the New Hospitals Programme in 2020, of which one is Epsom & St Helier. I know the Secretary of State and his department are working tirelessly to ensure effective delivery as soon as possible across the whole programme.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to help the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors recover from the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced a new relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth almost £1.7 billion, to help support high streets.

This is part of a wider package announced at the conclusion of the Government’s review of business rates, which is worth £7 billion over the next five years, including a freeze in the multiplier for 2022-23.

This follows unprecedented business rates support worth £16 billion for high streets throughout the pandemic.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing incentives such as tax credits to encourage rapid adoption of new technologies in the legal services sector.

The Government regularly receives proposals for sector specific tax reliefs. When considering any new tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy in a fair way and effectively target taxpayer money.

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the Help to Grow programme to support over 100k SMEs across the UK improve their productivity and performance though management training and digital adoption. This includes Help to Grow: Digital, comprising free online advice and a discount on software that could help SMEs from all sectors and across the UK save time and cut costs.

The Help to Grow: Digital platform will help businesses to understand the benefits of different types of software and identify which could help deliver their business goals. Support will be provided through interactive tools and technology-specific guides. Through the platform, eligible businesses will be able to access a voucher providing up to 50% discount on the costs of buying new software, worth up to £5,000 a year per business. Vouchers are expected to be available for software that helps businesses: build customer relationships and increase sales; make the most of selling online; and manage their accounts and finances digitally.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish a summary of the evidence provided by brewers to the 2019 consultation as part of the review of Small Brewers’ Relief.

The consultation document for the review of Small Brewers Relief will be published later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many small breweries there are at each of the following levels of production in hectolitres (a) 0-1000, (b) 1001-2000, (c) 2001-3000, (d) 3001-4000, (e) 4001-5000, (f) 5001-6000, (g) 6001-7000, (h) 7001-8000, (i) 8001-9000, (j) 9001-10,000 and (k) above 10,000.

Information on the levels of small brewery production is due to be published within the technical consultation on Small Brewers Relief later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to help tackle transphobic hate crimes.

Our absolute priority is to get more police onto our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting the police by providing them with the resources they need. Part of this necessitates police recruitment and training. We delivered our commitment to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by March 2023 and there are over 149,000 officers England and Wales, which is higher than the previous peak in March 2010 before the Police Uplift Programme.

The Government continues to fund True Vision, an online hate crime reporting portal designed so that victims of all forms of hate crime do not have to visit a police station to report. We also fund the National Online Hate Crime Hub, a central capability designed to provide expert advice to support individual local police forces in dealing with online hate crime.

Laura Farris
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the documentation provided to British National Overseas passport holders to access mandatory provident fund monies.

The UK firmly opposes the discrimination that British National (Overseas) status holders are facing in applying for early withdrawal of their pension funds held by the Mandatory Provident Fund in Hong Kong. The documentary requirements for accessing the scheme are a matter for the Hong Kong authorities. We have urged them to facilitate the early drawdown of funds as is the case for other Hong Kong residents who move overseas permanently and will continue to do so.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders to undertake voluntary work as (a) sportspersons and (b) sports coaches.

The restriction on working as a professional sportsperson applies to those holding permission on certain visa routes, including the British National (Overseas) visa. If an individual meets any of the indicators listed in the definition of a professional sportsperson at Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, they are classified as such, and if the restriction on work as a professional sportsperson is present in their visa conditions, they would therefore be breaching the terms of their visa.

However, it is not this Government’s intention to restrict anyone coming to the UK and taking part in sport recreationally. ‘Amateur’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as:

“Amateur” means a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.”

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders to use e-gates at the UK border.

The Government regularly reviews eGate eligibility for all groups, including British Nationals (Overseas). We have set out an ambitious vision for the future border in the New Plan for Immigration and remain committed to increasing the use of automation amongst those currently eligible and exploring options to allow more cohorts to use eGates.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance his Department provides to asylum accommodation providers on how to respond to incidents of harassment in asylum accommodation.

The safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers in our care is of paramount importance to the Home Office. The Asylum Accommodation Support Contract (AASC) Statement of Requirements below gives a detailed breakdown of all of the services to be undertaken by our accommodation providers and to the standards we expect. This includes training requirements for provider staff, room sharing guidance and suitability requirements, and guidance on incidents of harassment. Full details of our polices: AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf (parliament.uk).

When considering room sharing facilities, we will ensure that rooms are an appropriate size for the number of occupants and the occupancy in each bedroom shall not exceed that specified in the appropriate space standard, as defined in relevant legislation and/or in local authority licensing requirements, as well as ensuring that we are adhering to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance where applicable. Room sharing with friends is encouraged and the Home Office encourage individuals to speak to their housing officer if they know someone that they would like to share a room with. Every effort will be made for room sharing with a friend or family member, if they are the same gender. All personal circumstances will be considered before deciding if room sharing is suitable.

The Home Office has published the Asylum Support Contracts Safeguarding Framework at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-support-contracts-safeguarding-framework. This framework sets out a joint, overarching approach, as well as the key controls and reporting mechanisms in place, across the AASC contracts, for safeguarding arrangements.

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns regarding accommodation or support services, and they can get information about how to obtain further support.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC on 26 September 2023, whether she plans to change the asylum application process for people applying on the basis of persecution due to a protected characteristic.

To support decision-makers and our Courts we have clearly defined what persecution means in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. This includes providing a non-exhaustive list of examples of the types of acts which may constitute persecution.

Under Paragraph 328 of the Immigration Rules, all asylum applications continue to be decided in accordance with the Refugee Convention.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Official Statistics on Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2022 to 2023, published on 5 October 2023, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the increase in hate crime against transgender people; and what steps her Department plans to take to tackle hate crime against transgender people.

The Government is clear that all forms of hate crime - including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime - are completely unacceptable.

We have a robust legislative framework in place and expect the police fully to investigate these abhorrent offences and make sure those who commit them feel the full force of the law.

Whilst part of the increase in transgender hate crime may be due to a genuine rise, the biggest driver is likely to be general improvement in police recording and identification of a hate crime, along with increased victim willingness to come forward. This is positive and reflects the hard work that has gone in to ensuring that police can target their resources, understand the scale of the challenge and ensure that victims get the support they need.

Our absolute priority is to get more police into our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting police by providing them with the resources they need, including having recruited 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023. We also engage with relevant stakeholders when appropriate to do so.

12th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle the rise in transphobic hate crime.

The Government takes all forms of hate crime seriously. We expect the police to investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.

We also welcome the apparent greater willingness to report hate crimes to the police and that the police are better at identifying them. That helps to explain the increase seen in hate crime.

Our absolute priority is to get more police into our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting police by providing them with the resources they need. This has included the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers.

The Government has also worked with the police to fund True Vision, an online hate crime reporting portal, designed so that victims of hate crime do not have to visit a police station to report. The Government also funds the National Online Hate Crime Hub, a central capability designed to support individual local police forces in dealing with online hate crime. The Hub provides expert advice to police forces to support them in investigating these offences.

27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EU Settlement Scheme advice services funded by her Department will be continued in London beyond 31 March 2023.

From the launch of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in March 2019 the Home Office has made available £29 million in grant funding to a nationwide network of now 60 civil society organisations. The network has supported more than 480,000 vulnerable individuals to apply to the EUSS.

The Home Office is currently considering options for future support in line with changing demand.

Alongside the grant-funded network, there is support for vulnerable individuals available through the Settlement Resolution Centre which provides telephone and email assistance to applicants, and We Are Digital which provides technical support for applicants in completing the online application process. There are also several hundred organisations registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner which provide immigration advice, including for those applying to the EUSS.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce (a) theft of a vehicle, (b) theft from a vehicle, (c) trespass on public or private land with a vehicle, (d) alteration of a vehicle with the intent to cause anti-social behaviour and (e) other crimes and anti-social behaviours involving vehicles.

The Government is working closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, chaired by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime, to tackle theft of, and from, vehicles, including catalytic converters. The Metropolitan Police Service is represented on the Working Group, and a network of vehicle crime specialists from every force in England and Wales shares information about emerging trends and how to tackle regional issues.

The Home Office funded the set-up of the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership, which is ensuring the national co-ordination of policing and law enforcement partners to tackle metal and other theft. The partnership shares intelligence to target offenders, and implements crime prevention measures. The British Transport Police, through the NICRP, has conducted three national weeks of actions resulting in 92 arrests, over 2,000 site visits, over 1,000 stolen catalytic converters recovered, and the catalytic converters of over 3,000 vehicles forensically marked. This has helped to promote awareness, with over 1,000 officers trained in enforcement powers to deal with scrap metal dealers, and has seen a significant reduction in catalytic converter thefts. The Metropolitan Police Service have also co-ordinated their own operations to tackle these thefts.

The Government is working with partner agencies to ensure effective use of powers in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour including involving vehicles. The statutory guidance was updated last year to ensure a victim-centered approach to tackling ASB. ASB is one of the primary crime and issue types being targeted in the fourth round of the Safer Streets Fund.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce catalytic converter thefts in (a) Carshalton and Wallington, (b) London and (c) the rest of the UK.

The Government is working closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, chaired by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime, to tackle theft of, and from, vehicles, including catalytic converters. The Metropolitan Police Service is represented on the Working Group, and a network of vehicle crime specialists from every force in England and Wales shares information about emerging trends and how to tackle regional issues.

The Home Office funded the set-up of the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership, which is ensuring the national co-ordination of policing and law enforcement partners to tackle metal and other theft. The partnership shares intelligence to target offenders, and implements crime prevention measures. The British Transport Police, through the NICRP, has conducted three national weeks of actions resulting in 92 arrests, over 2,000 site visits, over 1,000 stolen catalytic converters recovered, and the catalytic converters of over 3,000 vehicles forensically marked. This has helped to promote awareness, with over 1,000 officers trained in enforcement powers to deal with scrap metal dealers, and has seen a significant reduction in catalytic converter thefts. The Metropolitan Police Service have also co-ordinated their own operations to tackle these thefts.

The Government is working with partner agencies to ensure effective use of powers in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour including involving vehicles. The statutory guidance was updated last year to ensure a victim-centered approach to tackling ASB. ASB is one of the primary crime and issue types being targeted in the fourth round of the Safer Streets Fund.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle the increase in hate crimes towards LGBTQ+ people; and whether her Department plans to undertake further research into the increase in those hate crime reports.

All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable.

Whilst the biggest driver for the increase in recorded crime is general improvements in police recording, along with increased victim willingness to come forward, we cannot be complacent. That is why we have committed to publishing a new Hate Crime Strategy later this year.

The Government has commissioned a Law Commission review of the adequacy of current hate crime legislation. The review will report this year and we will respond to it when it is complete.

Government action to tackle broader discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people includes:

  • A commitment to holding an international conference on LGBT rights; the “Safe To Be Me” conference will be held in 2022.
  • The September 2020 announcement of a further £3.2 million of UK-funded projects to help Commonwealth governments and civil society groups reform outdated laws and end the legacy of discrimination and violence.
  • Bringing forward legislation to ban conversion therapy as soon as Parliamentary time allows and making new funds available to ensure that victims have better access to the support they need.

The Government will continue to work with the police, stakeholders including Galop and others to understand the concerns of LGBTQ+ communities and what more can be done to address those concerns.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the number of reported incidents of hate crime that progress through the courts.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission’s review is also looking at the adequacy and parity of protection offered by the law relating to hate crime and the current range of offences and aggravating factors in sentencing. The Law Commission aims to make recommendations on the most appropriate models to ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection from conduct motivated by hatred towards protected groups or characteristics.

Publication of the final report is a matter for the Law Commission, which is independent. However, I understand that the Law Commission intends to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond. Given the complex issues that the Law Commission identified in its consultation, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the conclusions of its review.

Data on hate crime convictions and cases which proceeded through the criminal justice system can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/publication/cps-quarterly-data-summaries

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to plan for the upcoming release of the Law Commission's final report on the Hate Crime Review.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission’s review is also looking at the adequacy and parity of protection offered by the law relating to hate crime and the current range of offences and aggravating factors in sentencing. The Law Commission aims to make recommendations on the most appropriate models to ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection from conduct motivated by hatred towards protected groups or characteristics.

Publication of the final report is a matter for the Law Commission, which is independent. However, I understand that the Law Commission intends to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond. Given the complex issues that the Law Commission identified in its consultation, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the conclusions of its review.

Data on hate crime convictions and cases which proceeded through the criminal justice system can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/publication/cps-quarterly-data-summaries

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is engaging with the Ministry of Justice in preparation for the Law Commission's final report on the Hate Crime Review.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission’s review is also looking at the adequacy and parity of protection offered by the law relating to hate crime and the current range of offences and aggravating factors in sentencing. The Law Commission aims to make recommendations on the most appropriate models to ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection from conduct motivated by hatred towards protected groups or characteristics.

Publication of the final report is a matter for the Law Commission, which is independent. However, I understand that the Law Commission intends to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond. Given the complex issues that the Law Commission identified in its consultation, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the conclusions of its review.

Data on hate crime convictions and cases which proceeded through the criminal justice system can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/publication/cps-quarterly-data-summaries

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Law Commission's Consultation Paper, Hate crime laws, published on 23 September 2021, whether her Department supports the creation of a hate crime commissioner.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission’s review is also looking at the adequacy and parity of protection offered by the law relating to hate crime and the current range of offences and aggravating factors in sentencing. The Law Commission aims to make recommendations on the most appropriate models to ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection from conduct motivated by hatred towards protected groups or characteristics.

Publication of the final report is a matter for the Law Commission, which is independent. However, I understand that the Law Commission intends to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond. Given the complex issues that the Law Commission identified in its consultation, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the conclusions of its review.

Data on hate crime convictions and cases which proceeded through the criminal justice system can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/publication/cps-quarterly-data-summaries

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to support police forces to implement HIV awareness training to help reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination in the police; and if she will provide funding for that matter.

Individual police forces are responsible for setting standards and improving police training within the national Competence and Values Framework set by the College of Policing.

It is critical that the police have access to the most accurate and up to date information on HIV transmission, so that they can accurately assess any risks posed to their own safety in the course of their work and respond appropriately. This will also enable them to help reduce stigma and discrimination in the communities in which they work.

On the 4th February 2021, the Government published a total police funding settlement of up to £15.8 billion in 2021/22, an increase of up to £636 million compared to 2020/21. Overall police funding available to PCCs will increase by up to £703 million (5.4% in cash terms) next year.

Decisions about the allocation of police resources are for Chief Constables and democratically accountable PCCs.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to support police forces to ensure HIV status is not recorded on the Police National Computer so that the confidentiality of medical information is ensured.

The Home Office continues to work with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to ensure that the data on the Police National Computer (PNC) is necessary, proportionate and accurate, including medical status data. The Home Office has no plans for specific guidance or support to forces at present regarding HIV status beyond that already published in the PNC Manual.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to strengthen enforcement powers in respect of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites.

I refer my Hon Friend to the answer I gave to UIN 62648 on 02 July 2020 to the Hon Member for Sevenoaks.

[On 5 November 2019, the Government launched a consultation seeking views on measures to strengthen police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. The consultation closed on the 5 March. We will announce the outcome of this consultation in due course].

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many additional police officers (a) have joined the Metropolitan Police in the London Borough of Sutton in the last 12 months and (b) are planned to join the Metropolitan Police in that borough by 2024.

The Home Office does not hold the specific information requested.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on police joiners, broken down by Police Force Area in the annual ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin. However, data per London Borough are not available.

Data for the year ending March 2019 are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831666/police-workforce-mar19-tables.ods

Furthermore, the Home Office has also started to publish quarterly updates on ‘Police officer uplift’. The quarterly update contains information on the number of joiners since November 2019 (when these data were first collected). The latest release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-officer-uplift-quarterly-update-to-march-2020

The next release of both publications is scheduled for 30 July 2020.

The Government has committed to increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000 over the next three years. 6,000 additional officers have been allocated to forces across England and Wales by the end of March 2021 and over 3,000 have already been recruited as at March 2020. The Metropolitan Police Service accounted for 714 of the 3,005 officer uplift (24%), and 25% of all officers in England and Wales.

23rd Mar 2020
What steps she is taking to tackle anti-social behaviour.

We are committed to protect communities from the menace of anti-social behaviour. That is why we have enhanced the powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The powers are flexible, allowing local areas to tailor their response according to the circumstances. They are best-placed to understand their communities’ needs and the most appropriate response.

We keep anti-social behaviour under review through the ASB Strategic Board which brings together key partners.

5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department plans to take to commemorate Armistice Day.

Commemorations will take place across the UK to mark Armistice Day. This will include a ceremony at the Cenotaph, as well as memorials across the UK and around the world.

The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance will take at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 11 November and will be supported by over 500 members of the Armed Forces.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many same-sex marriages have taken place in military chapels since the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Use of Armed Forces’ Chapels) Regulations came into force on 3 June 2014.

Defence is proud of all our LGBT+ personnel and the significant contributions they make to ensure our security, support our national interests, and safeguard our prosperity. We are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful and welcoming organisation for all personnel from all faiths and beliefs.

In England and Wales, neither Civil Marriage nor Civil Partnerships (for opposite sex or same sex couples) currently occur on the Defence Estates due to security considerations associated with the requirements for ongoing public access to buildings registered for this purpose. Defence will continually work together with other Government Departments to look at how restrictions can be removed to make the policy more inclusive.

As marriage is a devolved issue in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules differ. Civil Marriage or Civil Partnerships on Defence Estates are at the discretion of the Heads of Establishment. Civil Partnerships and Civil Marriages do occur on Defence estates outside the UK, such as in Germany and Cyprus and will comply with host countries’ laws or the Sovereign Base Regulations.

In line with the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Use of Armed Forces’ Chapels) Regulations 2014, same-sex couples have been able to marry in Armed Forces Chapels since 2014. To date, three same-sex couple marriages have taken place in Armed Forces Chapels since June 2014, two in England and one in Cyprus.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made in allowing (a) civil marriage, (b) civil partnership and (c) same-sex marriage ceremonies at Ministry of Defence sites.

Defence is proud of all our LGBT+ personnel and the significant contributions they make to ensure our security, support our national interests, and safeguard our prosperity. We are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful and welcoming organisation for all personnel from all faiths and beliefs.

In England and Wales, neither Civil Marriage nor Civil Partnerships (for opposite sex or same sex couples) currently occur on the Defence Estates due to security considerations associated with the requirements for ongoing public access to buildings registered for this purpose. Defence will continually work together with other Government Departments to look at how restrictions can be removed to make the policy more inclusive.

As marriage is a devolved issue in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules differ. Civil Marriage or Civil Partnerships on Defence Estates are at the discretion of the Heads of Establishment. Civil Partnerships and Civil Marriages do occur on Defence estates outside the UK, such as in Germany and Cyprus and will comply with host countries’ laws or the Sovereign Base Regulations.

In line with the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Use of Armed Forces’ Chapels) Regulations 2014, same-sex couples have been able to marry in Armed Forces Chapels since 2014. To date, three same-sex couple marriages have taken place in Armed Forces Chapels since June 2014, two in England and one in Cyprus.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Mar 2023
What steps his Department is taking to support the international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The UK, our allies and partners are responding decisively to provide military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The UK continues to be recognised as a leading nation providing support to Ukraine; training over ten thousand recruits, providing £2.4 billion of support including hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition and leading the world on the gifting of vital capabilities such as MLRS and Challenger II main battle tanks.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce incidents of Hinduphobia.

Hatred towards Hindus is completely abhorrent and has no place in our communities. The Government continues to work with police and community partners to monitor and combat it. In 2023/24, the Home Office is providing £3.5 million for protecting places of worship, including for Hindu temples.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has (a) cancelled or (b) altered an article four direction issued by a local authority (i) to suspend permitted development rights for a house in multiple occupation and (ii) for other reasons in the period since 2010.

The requested information is not available for the period since 2010.

Since the national policy on Article 4 directions was amended on 1 July 2021, the department has not cancelled or modified any Article 4 directions which disapply permitted development rights for a house in multiple occupation. Since July 2021, the department has modified Article 4 directions for 10 local authorities for other reasons.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he has held discussions with representatives of the London Borough of Sutton on its Gypsy and Traveller site plan due to be submitted in 2022.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has not held discussions with representatives of the London Borough of Sutton on its Gypsy and Traveller site plan. Due to his quasi-judicial role in the planning system he is unable to comment on specific development plans or their content.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to regenerate high streets and towns.

Regenerating our high streets and town centres is essential to this Government’s commitment to level up the country. The Levelling Up White Paper includes measures to tackle vacant properties and announces 68 further places to receive tailored support from the High Streets Task Force. This builds on the comprehensive funding package already announced including the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the proportion of private landlords that are utilising (a) the Government’s current model tenancy agreement and (b) previous versions of the model tenancy agreement.

The Model Tenancy Agreement is the Government’s suggested contract for assured shorthold tenancies in the private rented sector. It is a publicly available template which landlords and tenants can choose to use to agree a tenancy, although they are not obligated to do so.

The Government does not collect data on the proportion of landlords using current or previous versions of the Model Tenancy Agreement.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to update Government Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments guidance; and if he will make a statement.

In February 2019 we announced a package of measures to help support site provision as part of the Government response to the Consultation on Unauthorised Encampments, including a commitment to finalise the 2016 draft guidance on assessing housing need including for those residing in caravans and houseboats.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to update Government guidance to local authorities on local parking strategies; and if he will make a statement.

The Government does not have current plans to update guidance on on-street parking.

The Government did support a private members bill to improve the situation for motorists in relation to private parking companies. The Parking (Code of Practice) Act received Royal Assent in 2019. This Act will lead to the creation of an independent code of practice for private parking companies and a “one-stop-shop” for parking appeals.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government laid an advisory Code of Practice for private parking companies in the House of Commons Library. On 3 November 2019, the government announced that the British Standards Institution (BSI) will write the Code in consultation with consumer and industry groups. The Government has committed to developing the final code this year, and will carry out a full public consultation, to give the parking industry, the public and other interested parties the opportunity to have a say.

21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has taken recent steps to increase the use of restorative justice.

Restorative justice is a valuable approach, but it is not appropriate in all cases. The welfare and safety of the victim is paramount, so restorative justice will only occur where it is safe and appropriate, and both the victim and the offender consent.

In the right cases restorative justice can have a powerful impact on victims and reduce reoffending too.

HMPPS has published an operational framework on restorative justice to support its use in suitable cases and ensure consistent referral processes between PCCs, prisons and probation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report of the APPG on Restorative Justice entitled Restorative Justice Inquiry Report, published in 2022, whether his Department plans to publish an updated Restorative Justice Action Plan for the Criminal Justice System.

We are committed to supporting restorative justice as a way to help victims cope and, as far as possible, recover from the impact of crime. That is why, under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (‘the Victims’ Code’), all adult victims must be told about the option of restorative justice and how to access it. We also provide Police and Crime Commissioners with grant funding for victim support services, including restorative justice services. They are best placed to assess local need and commission services based on the needs of the population in the local area. Restorative justice services should be targeted to the most appropriate cases, where we have clear evidence for the benefits of that approach and should only take place when both the victim and the offender agree, and it is considered safe.

HMPPS has work underway to look at how to better support MoJ funded restorative justice. This work is aimed at identifying the factors supporting quality practice and to test effective, evidence-based access to, and delivery of RJ services.  HMPPS will also work with PCC areas to improve referrals to RJ services. Once complete HMPPS will share the lessons learned more widely.

We do not currently plan to publish a restorative justice action plan because it is not clear that this is necessary or an appropriate fit with the existing activity to improve the consistent and targeted provision of restorative justice services at a local level.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made on establishing a pilot programme to understand where there are gaps in provision of restorative justice.

We are committed to supporting restorative justice as a way to help victims cope and, as far as possible, recover from the impact of crime. That is why, under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (‘the Victims’ Code’), all adult victims must be told about the option of restorative justice and how to access it. We also provide Police and Crime Commissioners with grant funding for victim support services, including restorative justice services. They are best placed to assess local need and commission services based on the needs of the population in the local area. Restorative justice services should be targeted to the most appropriate cases, where we have clear evidence for the benefits of that approach and should only take place when both the victim and the offender agree, and it is considered safe.

HMPPS has work underway to look at how to better support MoJ funded restorative justice. This work is aimed at identifying the factors supporting quality practice and to test effective, evidence-based access to, and delivery of RJ services.  HMPPS will also work with PCC areas to improve referrals to RJ services. Once complete HMPPS will share the lessons learned more widely.

We do not currently plan to publish a restorative justice action plan because it is not clear that this is necessary or an appropriate fit with the existing activity to improve the consistent and targeted provision of restorative justice services at a local level.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of prosecutions for theft of catalytic converters in London in each of the last three years.

This information may be held on court records but to examine individual court records would be of disproportionate costs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th May 2021
What steps his Department is taking to support victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is a top priority across Government, and we are determined to transform the response to this abhorrent crime.

We passed our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill on 29 April and our forthcoming Victims’ Bill will further transform victims’ experience of the criminal justice system and we have provided unprecedented funding for domestic abuse since the pandemic began, including £51m boost for specialist support services to support victims through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the CPS's use of restorative justice to support victims of crime.

The Ministry of Justice has not conducted an assessment of the CPS’s use of restorative justice. This is because the CPS has a very limited role in restorative justice (reparative conditions are an option for conditional cautions) and it does not provide or fund restorative justice services.

Under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, all victims have the right to receive information about the availability of restorative justice services. The Code also stipulates the obligations on providers of restorative justice, including ensuring that victims are able to give informed consent to participation and that it is in the best interests of the victims.

The Ministry of Justice provides funding to Police and Crime Commissioners to commission a wide range of local support services for victims, including restorative justice services. From April 2018 to March 2019 the Ministry provided about £68m, with about £4.4m spent on restorative justice services. PCCs also spent another £1m from other sources on restorative justice services.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice